Q&A about running away from home with experts Andy McCullough & Charlie Hedges. Aviva will donate £2 to charity Railway Children for every post - CLOSED

(113 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 12:25:42

You may have seen last month that the charity Railway Children is working with Aviva to provide help and support to children who have run away from home, or are at risk of doing so. It's estimated that one child runs away from home or care every five minutes in the UK. They've helped us to build some information on the reasons why children run away and how to spot the warning signs.

We were astounded by your response, with many of you sharing very personal stories and experiences. So many people have been touched by this issue and by sharing your thoughts, you have already helped us raise £18,422 for Railway Children.

Your comments have also raised lots of questions, so to answer everything and anything you'd like to ask - but never previously knew who to go to - about the topic of running away from home, we have invited the following experts to answer your questions:

·         Andy McCullough Head of UK Policy & Public Affairs at Railway Children
·         Charlie Hedges from CEOP, an organisation that deals with child exploitation and online protection

For every (proper & real!) question submitted, Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children. You can post a maximum of three questions on the thread. Aviva will donate up to £100,000 by the end of 2012 as part of the Mumsnet campaign.

£2 will also be donated for everyone who 'likes' and recommends this thread on Facebook (by clicking 'Recommend' at the top) and if you 'like' any of the articles here

Do please join in, have your questions answered and help that money stack up!

Send your questions for the experts before Sunday 25th November and we'll link to their answers to up to 20 questions from this page on Monday 10th December.

What is the biggest reason children give for running away from home?

What percentage of reported runaways are found safely ?

Some I know are found, but choose not to go back home, how do parents deal with that, & who has the dubious pleasure of giving them that news?

<£6 in the pot please!> grin

hanahsaunt Mon 19-Nov-12 19:36:32

Once children are back with their family, what ongoing support is available to both parties to work towards it not happening again? Do you have family mediators to work with? When is a runaway not a runaway (thinking of the recent case in Yorkshire where it was assumed the boy had run away) - how do the authorities decide?

Hulababy Mon 19-Nov-12 19:42:29

What is the average age of a runaway child?
Is it more likely to be girls or boys?
What are the main reasons children give for running away?

missymoomoomee Mon 19-Nov-12 19:45:43

Do all children that run away automatically get returned to their families?

Do children have people they can talk to after they have returned home and would it be better to have some sort of confidential support in schools so the children can speak to them before they get as far as running away?

How many cases of children running away have people helping them in some way and what are the penalties for knowingly helping?

Punkatheart Mon 19-Nov-12 19:46:34

What outside facilities (sleeping, feeding) are available for those children on the streets?

What can be done to protect children against predators on the streets?

I have seen some amazing projects in the USA - is there anything we can learn from them?

wilbur Mon 19-Nov-12 19:53:21

What happens to children of divorced parents where the child runs away to the non-resident parent? Are they automitcially returned to the resident parent, or is there rooom for negotation in this case?

purplemonstermum Mon 19-Nov-12 20:05:52

what percentage of children who run away have shown or go on to develop other problems e.g. drink/drug abuse, self harm etc? In other words is running away normally an early warning sign of (future) distress or something people only do after having tried several other strategies to manage existing problems?

Is running away usually planned in advance or a spontaneous last-minute idea? And if it can be both, what are the predictors of each type?

MaryBS Mon 19-Nov-12 20:07:17

How can you best help someone whose child has run away and is still missing?

lisad123 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:11:50

Can more be done to found missing children eg faces on milk, news ect, it seems the media is choosey about who they highlight sad

How many "safe places" are there for young runaways? Not adult shared ones, and not one who will force them to go home?

aristocat Mon 19-Nov-12 20:18:44

How long before a missing child is classed as a runaway?

And how can we help the children and the families more?

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 19-Nov-12 20:26:02

What reasons do children give for running away?
Where do children go?

notanotter Mon 19-Nov-12 20:28:20

Who should one turn to if one's child runs away?

Should the police be a last resort?

If the child has run away once will the police be less likely to react second or subsequent times?

What percentage of children voluntarily return home?. What support is there to help them make contact with their families? For children who don't want to return home, what options or support is available to them? How do they access support if they are living on the street? What practical support (ie food, clothing, healthcare) is available to runaway children?

How can runaway children on the streets be helped?

How old does a child have to be before you stop returning them home each time they run away?

CelstialNavigation Mon 19-Nov-12 20:31:56

I'm thinking about how hard it is for a child to verbalise and disclose abuse within their family.

How is a child's situation assessed before they are returned to their family and what support is put in place for the child after running away and being returned, when the reason for their leaving home is unknown?

gazzalw Mon 19-Nov-12 20:42:14

What are the outcomes for persistent runaways? And what % 'disappear'?

Is there any way we can set up shelters for teen runaways, not quite care homes but more supported living facilities where kids can access education, healthcare and benefits to allow them to become independent adults?

What can be done to make the authorities take the problem more seriously?

Is there any support the children can access when on the streets, such as sexual health clinics, food, hostels etc?

NigellasGuest Mon 19-Nov-12 20:48:46

What if any are the warning signs that a child may be planning to run away?

Are children who are planning to run away more likely to confide in a friend about their plans, or to tell no one - or is there no particular trend?

Do most runaway children run away repeatedly or is it ever the case that a child runs away just the once and that there is a positive resolution?

ScorpionQueen Mon 19-Nov-12 20:55:41

Where can runaways go? By this I mean are there shelters or facilities? Can they hand themselves in to some kind of foster care?

Where would the parents of a runaway child turn for help finding them? Would mediation be made available to support communication and (hopefully) enable the child to return home?

What can be done in schools and within families to reduce the number of runaways? Is there family support available before a family reaches crisis point? I imagine anything vaguely government funded has been done away with, although I would be happy (and surprised) to be corrected.

M44 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:59:37

1) HOw many runaway children end up being groomed and used and abused in the sex industry?
2) Can we engage more with large companies eg Innocent....to advertise and make people aware of 'lost'/missing children?
3)What support is there for to enable children to 'come home'....ie safe spaces to meet with parents without being put under massive amount of pressure by the police/social services to answer the many questions that do, at the end of the day need asking......

leslie787 Mon 19-Nov-12 21:13:12

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

insancerre Mon 19-Nov-12 21:17:39

Is running away from home somethig that all children consider at some point?

What percentage of children actually go through with it?

What is the most likely age for a child to run away from home?

Mouseface Mon 19-Nov-12 21:23:17

I'm sorry if these have been asked, I'm just replying to my email from MNHQ blush

1) - If a child has run away from a carer role, is there support in place to help relieve that child of their role?

2) - If a child runs away regularly, is there a 'permanent' marker on them/their family for life and if so, would that affect their future families?

As in, if they then had children, would it be assumed that the same traits would follow and is there anything like this in place now, or are there plans to be.

I hope that doesn't come across as Big Brother dictates, or as if they (runaways) don't deserve to have families, that's not what I mean at all. smile

supermam Mon 19-Nov-12 21:34:08

Is the divide between urban and rural areas equal in the runaways statistics?

Do local authorities have specific social workers who help runaways?

Does the organisation visit schools to publicise its work?

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