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Young People Who Run Away or Go Missing

Running away from home isn’t always planned. It can be a last-minute decision, and you might not be prepared – with no money, warm clothes or any idea about where you might seek help.

Young people might run away because of:

  • arguments with family
  • violence
  • problems at school
  • pregnancy
  • forced marriage
  • being in a stressful situation.

You might feel like there’s nowhere else to turn, but running away to live on the streets is never the answer.

If you’re having problems with your family, in care, or are being abused or neglected, there’s ways you can get support.

If you feel like it’s your only option, it can help to talk things through first. There might be options you hadn’t thought about.

You could:

  • try talking to an adult you trust about what’s going on
  • talk confidentially to Childline, who can listen and support you
  • get advice from the Runaway helpline if you’re thinking of running away
  • get support from Centrepoint if you’re at risk of being homeless

You will find useful links below.


Runaway Helpline

Runaway Helpline is here if you are thinking about running away, if you have already run away, or if you have been away and come back. You can also contact the helpline if you are worried that someone else is going to run away or if they are being treated badly or abused. Runaway Helpline has been supporting young people for many years and is run by the UK charity Missing People. Our staff and volunteers are trained professionals who want to help you through anything you are finding tough. You can call or text, for free, 24 hours a day. You can join 1-2-1 Chat at the bottom of their webpage . You can also email us on It’s all confidential. The number to call is 116 000.

Childline – Homelessness & Running Away

Homelessness is having nowhere to live. Sometimes things can get so bad for people that they feel like running away from home. Get help and advice from Childline on who to contact if you’re thinking about running away or are already living on the streets.


Homeless young people, aged 16-25, stay with Centrepoint for up to two years, but we keep supporting them for another six months to make sure they can live independently. Centrepoint can provide accommodation, health support and life skills to get young people back into education, training and employment.

How to keep your child safe from going missing leaflet – Catch22 Merton