Torbay Safeguarding Children Partnership

Are you thinking of running away?

There are a lot of reasons why young people want to run away from home or care. Some young people run away because they are drawn towards situations that might seem fun or exciting, or because they want to be with their friends who are out and about. For other young people, they might run away because they are unhappy at home or in care. This could be because they are not getting on with their parents or carers, there might be difficulties in the family such as drug use or domestic abuse, or they might be being harmed in some way.

Running away is not your only option, even though sometimes it might feel like it is. It's always worth trying to talk to somebody if you can about how you feel or what is upsetting you.

There is lots of information and advice available from Childline website if you are thinking of running away.

Some young people run away from home or care to meet people who they do not know, this would be worrying because there is a possibility you have been groomed and would be unsafe with the person you are going to meet.  There is more information about grooming on the NSPCC website.

Who can help?

  • Family – it is important that you try and talk to your family as they may be able to support you.  If you are unable to speak to you parent or carers then maybe choose another family member you can talk to or go to instead of running away. 
  • Friends – Friends can often be a good source of advice and support, especially if they are the type of friends that know when it’s time to ask an adult for help.  Be aware if 'friends' are asking or pressurising you to go missing with them, they may not be the type of friends you want to keep.
  • Community Services - there are safe places in the community that you can go to, for example, youth centres, libraries, drop in centres, police stations, hospitals, where there would be adults who would be able to help you.  
  • Professionals - People you have contact with, such as a social worker, youth worker, teacher, sexual health nurse, Youth Offending Team worker or other type of support worker.
  • Childline – free and confidential over the phone support on 0800 1111.

What happens when you get home?

If you are reported missing to the police, sometimes, they will want to make sure you are safe, so they will come and see you to check you are ok.

You will also be offered the space and time to talk to somebody more independent about the reasons why you ran away and whether you were ok whilst you were missing. This conversation is called a Return Home Interview and where possible, it will take place within 72 hours of you returning home.  For children who go missing from Torbay, the Return Home Interview will be offered by Checkpoint

It is nothing for you to worry about, you are not in trouble. It is simply an opportunity for you to talk about what’s going on for you and to see if there is any support available that could help you with any problems you might be experiencing.

A time and place to meet will be agreed between you and the worker as it is important that you feel comfortable and safe.

Sometimes for children who have been unsafe when missing or worries that you are being groomed or exploited, the social worker will also come to talk to you and your family.  They will explain the reasons why they are visiting you and what will happen next.  

The most important thing we want is for children in Torbay to feel safe and to know where to go if you need help.  

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