Running away

If you're struggling to cope and want to run away from home it can be hard to know what to do. But we're here to support you.

Wanting to run away

Sometimes running away can feel like your only option. You might want to run away because of:

Whatever's happening, we can help support you. Whether you've run away or are thinking about it you can speak to a Childline counsellor.

5 things to think about if you're considering running away

  • Ways to get support or change things without running away.
  • Where you could stay.
  • How to stay safe.
  • Whether you could talk to a teacher or safe adult.
  • What you'll need.
  • Who to tell.

Thinking about running away

Running away is always dangerous, even when you've planned what you want to do. If you're not sure if you should run away, there are things you could do that might help.

How to stay safe if you run away

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Get advice if you're homeless

If you've decided to run away

Running away is always dangerous and it's important to think about your safety if you do decide to run.

Remember, you can talk to a Childline counsellor any time, even if you've run away.

Running away from care

You might want to run away from care because you're:

  • not getting on with the staff or foster carers you live with
  • being bullied by other children in the same care home
  • being bullied about living in care
  • wanting to live with someone else, like friends or family.

Living in care can be difficult, especially if decisions are being made that you don't agree with. Remember, you've got the right to be heard if you're unhappy with what's happening.

If you're not being listened to, you can speak to Childline any time or get support from Coram Voice.

If you’ve already run away

We've got advice on what to do if you've already run away.

  • Get support
    Talk to a Childline counsellor or the Runaway Helpline for confidential support and advice.
  • Go somewhere safe
    This could be a relative, police station or a friend you feel safe with.
  • Know your rights
    You have the right to be safe, even if you're not at home. Talking to the police about why you've run away and what's happening means that they can support you and you can tell them if you're safe.
  • Keep in contact with people
    Keep your phone on or turn it on regularly to check for messages. Make sure you tell people where you are and where you're going.
  • Plan where to go if you're unsafe
    Stay in well-lit places and don't take offers of help from strangers or people you don't trust. If you're feeling unsafe, try going into a shop or café and speaking to a member of staff.

Places you can get support

  • Childline
    Talk to a Childline counsellor any time.
  • Runaway Helpline
    Get support and advice if you want to run away or if you already have.
  • Coram Voice
    If you're in care, they can help you to make sure you're listened to.
  • Police
    You can get help from the police any time by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.
  • Shelter
    Housing advice and support.

Returning home

There are lots of reasons you might go back to where you live. You could decide that it's the best thing to do for now or you might be brought back by the police or someone else.

You also might not be ready to tell people why you ran away or what happened when you did. You might think that you won't be believed or worry about what will happen next. Talking about what's happening can be tough but you don't have to cope alone.

You don't need to be missing to get support. If things are still difficult but you're struggling to talk, it can help to:

  • try telling people what's happened in a letter or by writing it down
  • planning things you can do to cope while you're back home
  • read about other young people's experiences on the message boards.