Nyuu-san asks:

Can you get arrested for running away? and with the person you ran to?

A girl wants to run away,She has no friends,Her family doesnt support her,When she tries to communicate they ignore her and when she asked them to change  they change but only for three days or so...She has this friend  to this town 3 hours away and she wants to runawya there..Her friend's 17 and  he asked his mother as lies that is a girl from school...
In Topics: Teen issues, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Aug 12, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

I consulted with some legal folks to verify the issues surrounding running away, and I learned the following:

Parents can request a court order to have their child returned to their custody (law enforcement would help to pick up the child and return them home). In some cases, parents may decide that they cannot continue with their parental obligations, and they can request to be "relieved" of their parental obligations, placing the child under the supervisions of the court. Finally, if a child is determined to be "incorrigible", they can be placed in a juvenile detention center. I have heard stories of teens were were threatened with a 10-day stay in a juvenile detention center.

If your friend was 18, I would say that the risks are larger for him, but at the age of 17, the consequences are less severe (depends on the parent's actions above).

These are the legal issues. The emotional piece of this is how your friend is feeling about her family and life situation, in general. She sounds pretty sad and hopeless. If she has ever felt (or currently feels) as though she does not want to continue to live, she needs to know that there are lots of supportive people out there that can help. She should tell her parents and/or call a local or national hotline to talk about her feelings. We have worked closely with BoysTown (not just for boys), and they are wonderful. Their number is 1-800-448-300 (it's free!). http://www.boystown.org/AboutUs/hotline/Pages/CrisisHotline.aspx. They are available to talk.

There are people who care (including her parents) and it is important for her to know that things may seem tough, but they won't always be this difficult, things can be better, and there are people who care. Although it is understandable that she feels like running away is her best option, there are better ways to get the support she needs.

Best wishes,
L. Compian, Ph.D.
Child Psychologist

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Additional Answers (2)

LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
Hello Nyuu-san,

I can feel from your letter that this is a difficult time.  Please advise the person who needs help to ask her school counselors to help her.  They have the resources to provide help.  Many times they can be a "middle person" to help parents and their teen understand each other better.  School counselors and psychologists work most of the year, including summers.  If they are not there, a person can ask the school secretary to call the board of education office for a person that can assist someone who wants to runaway.  Confidential help can be found quickly and with just a phone call.

Running away is not advised.  It may only create heartache and also could be very dangerous.  While running away may seem like a good solution one needs to look in to the future.  How will food be paid and bought?  What if the runaway becomes ill?  What about school?  Is the runaway trying to punish family members or just wants the home situation to get better?

Also,  if the person who wishes to runaway needs help there are crisis counselors available to assist and are available with one simple phone call.  To get help you can contact the number below from another person who answered your question or just simply dial information on the phone , 411,  for help.  

Again, please make sure that the person who feels the need to runaway knows that there is help in the community.  Be safe. Make the call.

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler,
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
> 60 days ago

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GeraldineCh... writes:
You can be placed in juvenille for running away, they start with 30 days and go from there. The person you run too and his parents can also be arrested. The parents would be arrested for harboring a runaway. Maybe some family counseling could resolve your problem without making bigger ones. Good Luck
> 60 days ago

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