Return Home Interviews are offered to anyone under the age of 16 on their return after being reported missing.
Most of the time these interviews will be with someone who is not from the police or social services – someone who’s independent from these – such as a charity worker or a teacher. Return Home Interviews can vary but the aim is to give the person who has returned a chance to talk about why they ran away, what happened whilst they were away and how they are feeling now they are back. The interview will be just between you and the person giving it, but they should talk over with you what confidentiality means. If they do not, you are entitled to ask the person doing the Return Home Interview to explain to you if the meeting is confidential and what information they will share.
Confidentiality means that you can talk to that person about anything you want and in most cases it will be just between you and them. The only times anything will go outside the two of you is if it is felt that you could be in danger or if you’ve said something about someone else being hurt. That is the only time that confidentiality should be broken, and if this is the case, then it should always be done with you knowing about it.
In certain areas throughout the UK, Missing People, the charity that runs Runaway Helpline, offers Return Home Interviews for children and young people after they have returned from being missing or running away.
If you live in one of the areas where we provide Return Home Interviews and you’re back from being away, you’ll be contacted by a member of our team who is totally independent from the Police and Social Services. They will offer you a chance to meet up, or talk over the phone, about how you have been recently. If you choose to talk to them, they will meet you at a place where you feel safe and comfortable to talk and they will never pressure you to tell them anything you don’t feel like talking about.
The meeting is a chance for you to talk about what happened before you were missing or you ran away, and what happened while you were away. They will also see how you are doing since you got back, and whether there are any problems in your life at the moment that we can help with. These meetings are confidential which means you can choose if we tell the Police or Social Services what you tell us. They only time they will have to tell them without your permission is if they think you or someone else is going to be hurt or harmed. Our team will always talk this through with you, and they will never tell anyone anything without discussing it with you first. If you tell them about problems or troubles you are having, they will help you work out what to do about those and they will support you to report harm or abuse if that is happening to you.
Sometimes, they will offer to see you more than once and help you work on some personal goals or perhaps help you be safer. If you have been offered a Return Home Interview by one of our team and you want a little more information before you decide, it’s ok to contact us to talk it through.