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  • Help

    So I'm 15 and I'm physically and verbally abused. I hate the house I'm in, I'm put down a lot, treated like dirt, etc. But my main question was, are you considered a runaway if your parents know where you are? And if they report you as a runaway with your location included, could my friend get in trouble for helping me?

  • #2
    Re: Help

    Hi there,

    You ask some great questions, and while we are not legal experts we will try to answer them the best we can. You don’t deserve to be abused in any way, and it is understandable you would want to feel safe. We’d like to give you the resource for Child Help USA at 1-800-422-4453. Child Help is a support and information hotline where you can get more information or ask any questions about child abuse reporting. Generally speaking, in the United States you generally have to be 18 to leave home without your parent's permission. If your legal guardians give you permission to stay with a friend then you would not be considered a runaway. One thing to keep in mind is if they don’t give permission legal guardians have the right to file a runaway report. It is a status offence to be a runaway, meaning it is illegal to do because of your age but you cannot be arrested or charged. If you were to stay with a friend they or their parents could be charged with what’s called “harboring a runaway” which is a misdemeanor offence. The best way to determine how your police department would react would be to call the non-emergency number and speak generally on your situation.

    If you would like to speak more in depth about your situation we are available 24/7 at 1-800-RUNAWAY where you can remain confidential. We are limited in our email responses, but you can also reach out to us via our online chat service at

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)


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