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Do police look for a 17 yo runaway in washington?

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  • #16
    Hi my daughter is 17 and keeps running away. She has a good life at home. She is not abused and for sure always gets what she needs and most of the time, what she wants. Life is not perfect, of course, but when we are not in agreement, she'll just choose to leave. Take all her stuff and just leave while I'm at work. I don't know what to do. She won't answer her phone. Her friends lie for her. She lies to her friends parents about me. Help point me in the right direction please.


    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It sounds like you love your daughter a lot and care about her safety and well-being, this must be a stressful and emotionally taxing situation for you. If your daughter ever leaves home you can contact your local police to file a runaway report, which is like a missing person report. Runaway reports can be filed at any time (no matter how long ago she ran away). Running away is considered a status offense, meaning it's not illegal but something that cannot be done by a minor. If the authorities locate your daughter she will most likely be returned home to you.

      It can be really hard to take on situations like this and we want you to know that you aren't alone. If you ever want to reach out for additional support from other parents who can provide an empathetic ear you can always check out Team HOPE (Help Offering Parents Empowerment) by calling 866-305-4673 or by going to

      If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

      All the best,

  • #17
    Hi, I need help in a situation I’m going through. I wanted to find out if I would get in trouble if I just want to report a runaway now after three days. He is only 15 and I just wanted to give him space to think about his actions but apparently he hasn’t came back and now I’m worried.


    • ccsmod2
      ccsmod2 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello There,
      Thank you for contacting The National Runaway Safeline, we are here to help and here to listen. We are not legal experts but we do have some general information on the laws. From our understanding you would not get in any trouble for reporting a runaway. If you do report them after three days you may be questioned why you waited and you can tell law enforcement what you have told us. Also you can contact The Center For Missing and Exploited Children at: 1800-843-5678.
      We hope this information will be helpful to you in your situation. If you have any more questions or would like to explore options please give us a call. We are here 24/7 to listen and to provide support. Best of luck!

  • #18
    I turn 18 in about 40 days,my neighbors said I could stay with them as my mother emotionally abused me ,if I stay with them will they get in trouble,I live in WA


    • ccsmod13
      ccsmod13 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi there,

      Thanks for taking the time to write us here at NRS. It can certainly be stressful at home when the adults in the household are not supportive. Emotional abuse does get overwhelming and it can be tough to cope with on your own. Abuse of any kind is never okay and not your fault. Doing your own research while thinking about the decision to leave was really responsible.

      Generally speaking, your parents are your legal guardians until you turn 18, so they can decide where you live. If you do choose to leave without permission, your parents can report you as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means that if your parents know where you are staying then they can have the police return you home. There is a charge called harboring a runaway that could affect the people you stay with, but from what we know it is not common and not used to punish someone who is keeping a young person safe. Some police departments do get more lenient with someone who is so close to 18 and will not even take a runaway report. You can call your local police department's non-emergency number to ask about their protocol.

      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

  • #19
    I really want to get out of the house because I am have been experiencing emotional abuse and neglect. I am 17 years old and I live in Washington State. I wanted to know if the people I stay with can get in trouble with the law if I stay with them. My parents are so focused on not letting me leave they would call the cops if I was a minute over curfew. I do not have a job and I am on the path to graduate with a highschool diploma. I have good grades in highschool but I hate my house. I want to leave and live with my boyfriend. I read u should try to get a recording of my parents saying to get out of the house so police can't force me to go back. I don't know if it's true but I am willing to try it. How do I leave and cops not get who I am staying with in trouble and take me home.


    • #20
      Hello and thanks for reaching out on our forum!

      We are really sorry to hear you have been experiencing emotional abuse and neglect. One resource that may be of help in terms of your experience is Childhelp. Feel free to check them out here: No one deserves to experience abuse or neglect, regardless of age. You raise some really great questions in regards to leaving home at 17. We are not legal experts; however, our understanding is that 18 is the age of majority (legal adulthood) in most states. Until that point, you may run the risk of your parents/legal guardians filing you as a runaway/missing juvenile. You mentioned your parents would call the cops if you were a minute over curfew so it sounds like that is a concern of yours.

      You also shared that you get good grades and are on track to graduate high school. In terms of a recording, that might be a better question for legal professionals or police. We would be happy to provide you with contact numbers and could even offer to call out to your local law enforcement or other agencies should you reach out directly via calling 1-800-RUNAWAY or through our Live Chat We hope that helps and wish you the best of luck!

      Last edited by ccsmod3; 03-14-2020, 06:33 PM.
      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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