Jump to content

Runaway (dependent)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A runaway is a minor or (depending upon the local jurisdiction) a person under a specified age who has left their parents or legal guardians without permission.


Current studies suggest that the primary cause of youth homelessness is family dysfunction in the form of parental neglect, physical or sexual abuse, family substance use disorder, and family violence.[1][2] Nearly half of runaway youths report that at least one of their parents struggles with alcohol addiction, and at least one third reported a parent struggling with drug addiction.[3]

Studies also show that 89% of child runaways were encouraged to do so by their peers.[4]

Consequences of running away[edit]

Runaways have an elevated risk of destructive behavior. Approximately fifty percent of runaways experience difficulties with schooling; including dropping out, expulsion, or suspension.[5] Running away can increase the risk of delinquency for adolescents, and expose them to the risk of victimization.[6] There have been many studies in multiple countries about "street children"—youth who have run away and are presently homeless—showing that they have a high risk of taking illicit drugs, developing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancy, depression, suicide attempts, and sexual exploitation.[7] Greater proportions of runaway youths experience clinically significant post-traumatic stress disorder than normative youths. Trauma generally begins with runaway youth's experiences within the family and is increased by prolonged traumatic events.[3] The likelihood of depression among female runaways is typically related to family conflict and communication. Depression in male runaways is typically related to paternal alcohol use disorder and poor family relationships. Negative interactions in relationships within the family appear to greatly influence depressive symptoms for both genders.[8]

Runaways in international contexts[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, 51.1 percent of at-risk youth identified by social workers have been a runaway during the age range of 11 to 18.[6]


Approximately 47 million runaway and homeless adolescents are estimated to be on the streets of India.[9] Studies have shown a higher prevalence of adolescent boys running away than adolescent girls.

Familial respect is important in India. Much of the Indian runaway population describes themselves as young people doing everything right at home, but having received harsh treatment from family members all throughout life.[9] Mistreatment consists of anything from favoring one child over another to extreme abuse.

Mainland China[edit]

Social control theory describes the runaway situation in China. Adolescent friendships can interfere with positive influences parents place in the adolescent's life. According to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics, approximately 150,000 runaway children and youth were documented in 2006.[10] Unrealistic expectations of school has caused many adolescents to run away. Many runaways are low achievers who reported they were constantly criticized by their teachers and experienced their teachers indifferent attitude toward them.[10] Overbearing parents authoritarian, overprotective, and neglectful[10] styles have led to adolescents running away.

United States[edit]

In the United States, a runaway is a minor who leaves home without permission and stays away either overnight (14 years old and younger or older and mentally incompetent) or away from home two nights (15 or over) and chooses not to come home when expected to return.[11] A runaway is different from child abandonment or a "throwaway" youth (a youth who isn't formally abandoned by parents, but is frequently ignored in favor of another sibling). Runaway youth are evenly divided male and female, although girls are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines.[12] In the United States, runaway children or youth are widely regarded as a chronic and serious social problem. It is estimated that each year, there are between 1.3 and 1.5 million runaway and homeless youth in the United States[13][14] According to a 1983 training report on the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs website, a large percentage of runaways in the US leave their home to escape sexual assault.[15]

Running away from home is considered a crime in some jurisdictions, but it is usually a status offense punished with probation, or not punished at all.[16] Giving aid or assistance to a runaway instead of turning them in to the police is a more serious crime called "harboring a runaway", and is typically a misdemeanor.[17][18] The law can vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another; in the United States, there is a different law in every state. A 2003 FBI study showed that there were 123,581 arrests for runaway youths in the United States.[19]

The Family and Youth Services Bureau of the United States Department of Health and Human Services funds grant programs to help runaway and homeless youth. The organization also provides funding for the National Runaway Switchboard, a national hotline for runaway youth, youth who are thinking about running away or are in crisis, parents, and other concerned adults.[20][21]

Notable runaways[edit]

  • Isa Hasan al-Yasiri – (1942), Iraqi-Canadian poet. When he was ten years old, he ran away from school without the knowledge of his family to the village of his maternal uncles. He traveled there with a caravan of camels, walking with them all night long. He stated years later at the age of 74 that he had defined his childhood self-concept based on freedom. [22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smollar, 1999[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Robertson & Toro, 1998[full citation needed]
  3. ^ a b Thompson, Sanna; Maccio, Elaine; Desselle, Sherry; Zittel-Palamara, Kimberly (August 2007). "Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Among Runaway Youth Utilizing Two Service Sectors". Journal of Traumatic Stress. 20 (4): 553–563. doi:10.1002/jts.20229. PMC 2776719. PMID 17721973.
  4. ^ Achakzai, Jahangir Khan (2011). "Causes and Effects of Runaway Children Crisis: Evidence from Balochistan". Pakistan Economic and Social Review. 49 (2): 211–230. JSTOR 23622111.
  5. ^ "NRS Statistics on Runaways". Nrscrisiline.org. National Runaway Safeline. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b Cheung, Chan-Kiu; Suk-Ching, Liu; Tak-yan, Lee (2005). "Parents, Teachers, and Peers and Early Adolescent Runaway in Hong Kong". Adolescence. 40 (158): 403–24. PMID 16114601.
  7. ^ Edinburgh, Laurel D.; Garcia, Carolyn M.; Saewyc, Elizabeth M. (February 2013). "It's called "Going out to play": a video diary study of Hmong girls' perspectives on running away". Health Care for Women International. 34 (2): 150–168. doi:10.1080/07399332.2011.645962. PMC 4681540. PMID 23311908.
  8. ^ Thompson, Sanna; Bender, Kimberly; Jihye, Kim (February 2011). "Family factors as predictors of depression among runaway youth: do males and females differ?". Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal. 28 (1): 35–48. doi:10.1007/s10560-010-0218-5. S2CID 144636703.
  9. ^ a b Raval, Vaishali V.; Raval, Pratiksha H.; Raj, Stacey P. (November 2010). "Damned if They Flee, Doomed if They Don't: Narratives of Runaway Adolescent Females from Rural India". Journal of Family Violence. 25 (8): 755–764. doi:10.1007/s10896-010-9333-5. S2CID 37198750.
  10. ^ a b c Mei, Zhao; et al. (2012). "Newspaper Coverage of Runaway in China". Children and Youth Services Review. 34 (9): 1598–1603. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.04.017.
  11. ^ Hammer, Heather; Finkelhor, David; Sedlak, Andrea (2002). "Runaway/thrownaway children : national estimates and characteristics". Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (U.S.)--Statistics. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Home". National Runaway Safeline. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  13. ^ Coco & Courtney, 1998[full citation needed]
  14. ^ Cauce et al., 1994[full citation needed]
  15. ^ "Working with Sexually Abused Children and Their Families". Office of Justice Programs. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  16. ^ "Background on Status Offenders". Cga.ct.gov. 31 January 2003. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Illinois Compiled Statutes 720 ILCS 5 Criminal Code of 1961. Section 10-6 - Illinois Attorney Resources - Illinois Laws". Law.onecle.com. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  18. ^ "Criminal Parental Kidnapping" (PDF). Ndaa.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  19. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts: 2006 Edition, Pg. 205 ISBN 0-88687-964-7
  20. ^ "Family and Youth Services Bureau". Acf.hhs.gov. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
  21. ^ "Here to Listen, Here to Help". National Runaway Safeline. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  22. ^ "في حوارمع طائرالجنوب الشاعر:عيسى حسن الياسري:المرأةأيقظت عالم(الشعر)لدي..ومازلت أعيش مغامرةطفوليّة !". almadapaper.net (in Arabic). 10 July 2016. Archived from the original (Interview) on 13 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022. وهربت من المدرسة باتجاه قرية أخوالي التي سافرت إليها مع قاقلة من الجمال سارت فينا طول الليل .. ودون معرفة أهلي .. كنت وقتها في العاشرة من العمر.. كان هذا أول تمرد ضد تقييد حريتي أمارسه طفلا ً .

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]