The Missing Children’s Network provides resources for families and the professionals who serve them. The Network has a variety of publications regarding abduction, child sexual exploitation and safety.
Police forces define a runaway as follows: “A child less than 18 years of age who runs away from the family home or from a substitute place of residence.”
Runaways are not bad children! They are usually children that possibly face various problems in their family milieu. Some situations become so intolerable to them that they end up thinking that living anywhere else would be better than living in the family home. Parents are not always aware of the problems that their children face, and then one day, disaster strikes and they run away. This event is followed by a period of great anxiety, stress and soul-searching for the parents.
Given the number, frequency and profile of the young people involved, there is an unfortunate tendency to down play this type of disappearance. Runaways are vulnerable. Since they must take care of themselves, there is a very real risk that they will become involved in criminal activities such as prostitution, drugs, theft or others.