This list was written by and for young people with experience of running away and may not be suitable for your situation. For advice on your own situation, call or text Runaway Helpline on 116 000. It’s free, 24/7 and confidential.
Before you run away...
Talk through your options before you decide whether to run away
Find an adult you can trust, like a teacher, and talk to them about your options.
Phone or text Runaway Helpline on 116 000. It’s free, confidential and here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We will help you think about what to do – and you don’t have to tell us your name, or where you live.
Ways to help you stay safe if you do run away
Memorise or write down important phone numbers in case your phone gets lost or the battery dies.
You may have turned off your phone to stop people calling you. But it can be good to turn your phone on as you may receive a reassuring text message from your family/carer or someone else who understands.
Avoid hitchhiking or getting into a stranger’s car. This can be dangerous.
If you decide to go and meet someone you have met online don’t go on your own, always meet them in a public place, take your phone and make sure someone else knows where you are going. Try to find out more about them before you meet them – people are not always who they say they are.
If you’re on the streets try and stay in public areas. Call us on 116 000 and we can talk you through your options.
Make sure you know the area where you are running to. If you end up in an area that you don’t know then try and find out about safe places to go by asking in a supermarket, a train station or at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Only stay somewhere where you feel safe and you can trust people. Remember that if someone is nice to you or gives you gifts, they may want something in return later on.
If you do need help remember there are projects and services that will listen to you, help make you safe and find somewhere to stay. You can call or text Missing People on 116 000 and we will talk to you and put you in touch with other people that can help. You don’t need to tell us your name or where you are.
If you’re in danger now
It might feel scary to call the police, but if you do contact them they will help make sure you are safe. You can contact the police either by calling 101 and asking for the police or by going to a local police station. If it is an emergency call 999.
If you’re worried about calling the police, you can call Runaway Helpline on 116 000 – we will talk to you about what the police might do, and if you do decide to call the police, we can stay on the phone to help you.