Running away from home can seem like the best option for some young people who, for whatever reason, are not happy at home or with their lives outside of the home.
Sometimes this can be because of a combination of stresses in their lives, such as arguments or violence at home, problems at school, pregnancy, forced marriage or being in a stressful situation.
Often it’s not planned, and can leave an upset young person vulnerable and on the streets with no money, warm clothes or any idea of what to do next or where to get help.
One young person said: “I am at the stage now where it feels like running away is the only option. I’ve just had a huge argument with my family and things are just getting worse.
“I can’t bear living like this anymore. It’s just constant arguments and even when there aren’t arguments there is just tension in the air. I just can’t bear living at home anymore.”
If a young person is being subjected to abuse or neglect, or if they’re arguing a lot with their family, there are other ways to get out of this situation.
The first thing to do is talk to a trusted adult about the way they’re feeling. If there’s no one they trust enough to talk to, they can call Childline to talk to one of our counsellors.
There is also information on our website about the Runaway Helpline and Centrepoint, which can help if they’re at risk of becoming homeless.
It’s important to remember that life on the streets is hard and carries a lot of risk. Young people who run away could find themselves with nowhere to sleep or rest, not having any food or water, not having any clean clothes or being able to wash.
There’s also the risk from other people who may be dangerous or abusive, being attacked or having belongings stolen.
So while running away may seem to be a better alternative to their situation at home, there are better ways to address issues and worries – no matter how serious they are.
Whether a young person is thinking of running away, or has already done so, they can call our counsellors at any time of day or night.
For free confidential advice and support, children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk