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17 and needing to leave. Emotional and mental abuse.

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  • 17 and needing to leave. Emotional and mental abuse.

    My mom is emotionally and mentally abusive. I need to leave soon. I’m not 18 til December,how would I be able to move out legally? I’ve been from my fathers to my moms back and forth all of my life. Both households are abusive and I’ve contacted the authorities and DHS has been involved. The only person who was proven abusive was my father. I feel like if I contacted the authorities they would ignore me and not believe anything I say because I don’t really have much proof but a person I talk with on the phone everyday. How would I move out legally?

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline and we appreciate you sharing a bit about your situation. You were very brave for reporting the abuse to DHS and to the police. We are not legal experts, but we can speak generally. Leaving home without permission is not necessarily illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that if you come into contact with law enforcement or your parents know where you are staying then they can ask that police return you home. Now, some police departments do not enforce runaway reports for someone so close to turning 18 and may not force you back. You can call the non-emergency number for your local police department to ask about their runaway protocols and what they might do in your situation.

    Other options to leave home would be with your parent's consent, going through DHS and being removed from their custody, or through a court order such as emancipation. We know that making another report to DHS can be an intimidating decision to make, but you do always have the option to report again and you don't have to go about it alone. There is an organization called Child Help which advocates for young people in abusive and unsafe situations. You can contact them at 1-800-422-4453 or go to to speak with an advocate about the reporting process.

    The other option is emancipation, but this can be a lengthy and difficult process. It usually requires that you are able to live independently and can financially support yourself. If you would like to learn more about this and if it is a viable option for you, the next step would be to speak to a lawyer. If you call our hotline at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at we can connect you with a legal aid resource in your area.

    Your safety is very important and you deserve to be treated with respect. If you feel unsafe at home, we encourage you to take any steps necessary to regain a sense of security. We truly want to be a support for you as you decide on your next steps. We are available 24/7 to listen and help as much as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out again by phone or chat if you would like to talk more in-depth about your situation and explore your options. You can contact us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or use our live chat services at

    Stay strong,
    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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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