If things get really hard at home, sometimes running away or going missing seems the only option. But there is always help for you.

You might want to run away because of

  • Family arguments
  • Being hurt or abused
  • Feeling unhappy in care
  • Bullying or problems at school
  • Wanting to live with someone else

There are lots of other reasons too. But if you feel you can't take it anymore, it's important to think about your options and get help.


You have the right to be safe even if you’re not at home.

If things get really hard at home, sometimes running away seems like the only option.


Childline logo


Runaway Helpline logo

to get confidential support and advice, and to help you keep safe.

They are there to listen and offer you support at any point. Their websites also have stories from others who may have similar experiences to your own.

Getting help and support

Running away or going missing is always dangerous, even if you've made some plans. You can get help.

  • If it's safe, tell your family or carers how you feel – telling them about difficulties you are facing can help them to understand better what is going on for you.
  • Speak to another adult who you trust – someone outside of your family who can help you get support.
  • Make a safety plan – if something happens at home, who can you contact in an emergency, and where can you go safely? Are you able to travel safely? Do you have the means (e.g. phone with enough credit) to contact someone?
  • Talk to Childline or Runaway to get confidential support and advice and to help you keep safe.

If you have already run away

You can contact Childline or Runaway for information on what to do next.

  • Keep in contact with someone you trust, and go somewhere you feel safe.
  • Remember you have the right to be safe, even if you're not at home.
  • Talking to the police can help them understand your situation, and support you, particularly if you feel unsafe. It may seem like a big step, but the police are there to look after you.
  • You can call the police anytime on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Returning home

Returning home after running away can feel really hard.

  • You might not feel able to talk to anyone at home, or are frightened that nothing has changed.
  • You might be worried about your family's reaction when you return home. Usually family members or carers feel worried – they want you to be safe and feel OK.
  • Going home will create a lot of emotions for everyone, but alongside relief, there may be frustration and anger.
  • You might still feel that home is unsafe, for example if you are made to do things you don't want to, or you are hurt.
  • Helpline agencies can help pass on a message to help with your return home, as well as prepare you.
  • For some young people they feel that running away again is their only option but it doesn't have to be.

You can always contact Childline or the Runaway helplines. They are there to help you and offer support at any point.

Speak to one of the agencies listed here – they can help you talk to someone about finding somewhere safe for you to stay.

Childline logo


Call: 0800 1111

Runaway Helpline logo

Runaway (Missing People)

Call or text: 116 000

Is this OK logo

Is This OK?

Chatbot and specialist advisers

4pm – 11pm daily via website

If you're worried about yourself, or another young person being at risk of abuse or neglect, search for 'safeguarding' or 'child protection' in your local area.