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How to stay safe when I run away

We hope what you see here helps.  If you are feeling like running away or are away from home, we are here to listen.

Call or Text 116 000. For free and in confidence.

Running away is never a completely safe thing to do, but by thinking about what you are doing and what you might need to do could help keep you a lot safer than you would have been.

Before you run away try to talk through your options with someone. A good option would be an adult you can trust, like a teacher, or a relative. Talk to them about what you could do instead. There might be another solution you hadn’t thought of. If there’s no one you trust, you can call Runaway Helpline on 116 000 and we could help you think about what to do – you don’t have to tell us your name, or where you live.

If you are definitely going to go then make sure you have everything you might need to stay as safe as you possibly can.

Here are some things to think about:


  • think carefully about where you are going and how you are going to get there – will you be safe getting there? Do you have everything that you might need with you? If you’re definitely going, remember important things such as warm clothes, medication, food, drink, money, your phone, your phone charger…
  • if you have somewhere to go that you would be safe like a friend’s or relative’s house then that is probably the best option, or if you don’t have that as an option, try going somewhere with shelter such as a hospital where there are also people around which means you will not be alone
  • memorise or write down important phone numbers in case your phone gets lost or the battery dies and you need to contact someone urgently
  • 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 or someone else who understands
  • always avoid hitch-hiking or getting into a stranger’s car. This can be incredibly dangerous. You don’t know who they are or where they might take you
  • 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
  • if you’re already on the streets always try and stay in public, well-lit areas. Only stay somewhere where you feel safe and you can trust people. Remember that if someone is nice or flirty with you then they may want something in return later on. If you find yourself in a situation where you are somewhere that doesn’t have many people or there are people who make you feel unsafe around then you can call the police and they can come and get you – you won’t be in trouble for calling them, the most important thing is your safety.

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 Runaway Helpline for free, from 9am – 11pm every day, on 116 000 and we will talk to you and put you in touch with other people who 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 them either by calling 101 and asking for the police or by going to a local police station. If it is an emergency, always 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.

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The Runaway Helpline can only provide services to children and young people within the United Kingdom, and information and advice on this site relates to the UK only.

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