Running away

It’s estimated that in the UK a child runs away from home or care every five minutes. That amounts to 100,000 children every year.

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 are 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:

Research shows this can happen to anyone, with children running away from affluent homes as well as low-income households. Running away is slightly more common among girls than boys.

Children are often running away from problems at home or at school. Some are dealing with very serious issues at home, such as neglect, drug and alcohol addiction (their own or their parent’s), mental health problems, violence and abuse. A few children are even forced to leave home by their parents or carers. Others are trying to escape common problems such as bullying, relationship difficulties, loneliness or family breakdown.

Many children run away on the spur of the moment, without any forward planning. This means that they probably haven’t thought about where they’ll go, where they’ll sleep, or how they’ll manage to support themselves.

Many of these children end up on the streets, where the problems they face are often even worse than those they have endured at home. In many cases, children and young people who end up alone on the streets are at risk of sexual exploitation, drug and alcohol dependency, abuse and violence.

If you are thinking about running away or are worried about someone else running away checkout the following websites for information and support:


Information taken from