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Going Missing – Running Away from Home

  • Staying out all night?
  • ‘Getting out’ of  school?
  • Thinking of running away?

Young people run away or go missing from home and school for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s just for a few hours or overnight, and sometimes it can be for longer.

You may feel the need to escape from trouble, hassle or something you are worried about. You may feel bored and want to fit in and hang out with friends. Or you might feel that no one cares – that no one would be bothered if you went missing.

Whatever the reason, the tragic fact is that children and young people who go missing or absent are more likely to be exploited. Don’t know what it means to be exploited? Click here, or on the tab on the left.

Children who go missing often head to town centres, parks or any places where they may mix with other young people to hang out and – in some cases – experiment with drink, drugs, or they may just be on their own. People who wish to exploit Children and other criminals will deliberately target places to take advantage of vulnerable young people.

If you have run away, or are thinking of running away because there is trouble at home for example your parents/carers are hurting you, ignoring your needs, shouting at you all the time:  this could mean that you are being abused, and there are services available to help you. Talking about these problems with someone is always better than running away, but if you really need to leave then think about another family member or a responsible person you could contact/go to. Stay safe
All of these risks mean it can be really dangerous if you run away – whether it’s “getting out” of school for a few hours or disappearing from home for a few days. It is important to stay safe and be able to recognise what child sexual exploitation is and how to spot the signs.

There’s some great advice on the Missing People website. They run a free helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s free to call or text and is totally confidential. Call or text 116 000. Email

They can listen and help you work out what you want to do next.