We know that sometimes you really do need to go and leaving is the only option, but in these cases the first thing you should do is try to get somewhere safe. Being away from where you usually stay can be very risky and may mean you end up in a situation you don’t feel comfortable with, or in a scenario that is dangerous. If you find yourself in immediate danger, it’s important that you call 999 and speak with emergency services straight away.
If you can stay with a close friend or a relative, it’s a good idea to contact them and see if they are in – especially if they live a long way away. If you plan to go to a friend’s, then try to make it someone you trust and have known for a long time. Think carefully about where you are going and how you are going to get there. If you can, stay in contact with the person you’re going to stay with and let them know what your plans are.
Sometimes an online friend or mutual acquaintance may offer you somewhere to go, but if you don’t know this person well or in real life, or are unsure about what you are getting yourself into, then take a backward step. Even when someone seems friendly or kind, it can be very risky to accept these kinds of offers and you may end up in a situation where something you don’t want to do is expected in return.
When your choices are very limited, sleeping rough, or staying with a stranger might feel like an option, but this is very dangerous and could mean you end up coming to harm. If you’re not able to find anywhere safe to stay, or are unable to return to somewhere safe, you should get in touch with your social services or Local Authority. If you already have a social worker, it may be best to try and reach them first to explain your situation as they have a responsibility to ensure that you have somewhere safe to stay. What they are able to offer will vary from place to place, and depend on your age and situation, but if you’re in need of somewhere to stay it’s important to explain your situation and see what they’re able to do.
If you’re unsure about what to do or need someone to speak to, Runaway Helpline are here to talk, for free on 116000. You can call or text and we will listen and not judge. We want to help you be as safe as possible and can support you in your situation.