Oh go on, please talk to us about runaway kids: Aviva will donate £2 to the charity Railway Children for every post!

(231 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Oct-12 15:35:44

Did you know that it's thought that one child runs away from home or care every five minutes in the UK?

To help raise awareness, 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.

They've also helped us to build some pages on why children run away and how to spot the warning signs.

What they would like now is to hear your thoughts. Do you have any experiences to share - either as a parent or maybe from your memories as a child? Do you have any thoughts on the issue in general - about public awareness and support for the work of the Railway Children, for example? Do you think most parents just assume this isn't a problem they'll likely have to deal with?

Do please come and add your thoughts here. For every contribution to the discussion, Aviva will donate £2 to the Railway Children. You can post a maximum of 3 times per thread.

Aviva will donate up to £100,000 between now and the end of 2012 as part of the Mumsnet campaign, and there's a few other ways you can donate more money.

(SURVEY NOW CLOSED) They'll also donate £2 for every person that completes this survey. Everyone who takes part and adds their details at the end will also be entered into a prize draw to win VIP rugby tickets (for a family of 4) to attend the Aviva Premiership Final in May at Twickenham, courtesy of Aviva (these can be passed on to family or friends if you win but are unable to attend).

And £2 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 and help that money stack up!

UmamiOrange Wed 03-Oct-12 16:47:06

I've nothing really useful to add, but clocking in to get the £2 for Railway Children!

I do think that most people probably do not realise the extent of the problem, or maybe assume that only children with a 'troubled' background will run away.

I cannot imagine what the parents of a runaway child go through or how they cope sad

Hesterton Wed 03-Oct-12 17:19:21

I was on a train once from Bristol to the South Coast, early evening. A boy of around 14-15 ducked out to the toilet as the conductor came, and snuck back in opposite me.

We got talking - he was absconding from care, which seemed to be a regular occurance from what he was saying. He had no money but his aunt was meeting him in Portsmouth he assured me. We talked for quite a while about how he circumnavigated the care system to try as best he could to see friends and family; he knew he had been dealt a rogue card in life but was a charming and warm character, wily would describe him I think, but nice wily. He had just learnt to try and get where he wanted somehow.

I didn't have a phone, and he seemed safe so there didn't seem much point in hue-ing and crying - he did have a phone, and he had a conversation with his aunt as we travelled, the gist of which was that they knew he'd get to see her for a bit before he'd be picked up again. He said the social workers would know where he was.

I gave him a tenner when I got off the train (a few stops before him.) He was genuinely grateful - he hadn't even hinted that he wanted money but he was pragmatic about his lack of it.

I often wonder what happened to that boy - he'd be about 25 now I guess.

TheMightyMojoceratops Wed 03-Oct-12 17:21:16

I don't have much to add either. If I post to mark my place, does that count for the £2 donation?

JulieW1966 Wed 03-Oct-12 17:32:27

I work in the prison system with sufferers of severe mental illness, I have also worked with drug dependence, so many sad stories of abuse and obvious negative outcomes, I sometimes feel that charitable organisations can be disjointed, many working for the same outcome but with evident repetition. Some joint working would be more beneficial and I feel that the charity givers should be able to see where the money is spent as some feel that lots of money is spent on admin etc. A big well done to Aviva for there contribution, I hope it makes a difference !

combinearvester Wed 03-Oct-12 17:38:31

I didn't know how many children ran away tbh. I think more needs to be done with children in care as I suspect they make up a large proportion / run away more than once etc. Agree with what JulieW says about joint working too.

QOD Wed 03-Oct-12 17:42:50

Bring back old fashioned council run youth clubs, somewhere to go, someone to talk to, somewhere to turn

nextphase Wed 03-Oct-12 17:45:00

I too didn't realise that number of kids ran away - but what is counted as running away? I still remember my little brother disappearing for a couple of hours one afternoon, probably aged about 5. He was in the garage attic. Did he run away? Or are we talking kids who disappear for a few days, and the police are involved?

Actually, thinking about that, the neighbours kid, and her mate from up the road disappearing fora few days. The police were involved at that point, but they hadn't gone far, and I saw them wandering down the road on about day 3, and told school that morning, when they were promptly found. Don't know why I didn't tell my parents there and then!

PurplePidjin Wed 03-Oct-12 17:55:59

What Julie said - the recent devastation of Youth Services in some counties has taken away what little partnership working was possible sad

trice Wed 03-Oct-12 17:59:26

I ran away from home when I was eight. I spent two hours in the park then had to come home for a sandwich because I was hungry.

It worked for me. After two hours of frantic searching my parents were ready to listen to what I had to say, and I got to see that I really mattered to them.

I cant imagine what families go through when children run away for real though.

Svrider Wed 03-Oct-12 18:04:35

For some children I think running away is the only option they know about
I was sad to find 0800 1111 isn't always tought in schools
Also sad at how many times a caller hangs up, due to no one able to answer the call
All children should be taught the number

JeanBillie Wed 03-Oct-12 18:34:18

Thanks for raising awareness of what must be a complete nightmare for any family that goes through this sad

My daughter, aged eight, announced I was a horrible mother and she was leaving home. She packed a carrier bag, and off she flounced, banging the front door behind her. I watched her from the window as she walked down the path, and settled into a hole in the hedge at the end of the garden, and sat looking very sad for herself. I darent take my eyes off her for one second, in case she really walked off. I can remember how scary that felt, just for an hour, and I actually knew where she was and what she was doing, and she was safe. I cant imagine how it must feel if you dont know why your child has run away, where they are, or if they are safe. Fortunately Tiny Gherkins agreed to come back in if I cooked bangers and mash for tea, and all was well with the world. Thank you Aviva for making me tell this tale for £2.

Wigeon Wed 03-Oct-12 18:40:24

I used to volunteer for the Missing People helpline for young runaways, called the Runaway Helpline (called Message Home when I volunteered for it). It was a very interesting experience; most runaways are actually only running away temporarily (obviously still very distressing for all involved), and a significant proportion were in care, or known to social services for some reason or another. We spent a lot of time contacting the Emergency Duty Team at various local Social Services. sad

Anyone in London, able to get to south-west London, might like to have a look https://fromwww.missingpeople.org.uk/missing-people/young-people/24-hour-help if they are interested in volunteering. (I assume they are in the same place as when I volunteered!).

And you can also call it if you are an adult worried about a young person: here https://fromwww.missingpeople.org.uk/missing-people/families-and-friends/24-hour-help. They can talk you through the law, signpost you to other sources of practical or emotional help, and generally support you.

EduCated Wed 03-Oct-12 18:44:28

I think it's a very under-promoted cause. I was unaware of the extent of the issue and have only recently heard of Railway Children.

Wigeon Wed 03-Oct-12 18:45:06
HeathRobinson Wed 03-Oct-12 18:49:51

I had a whole running away plan when I was a kid. Any time I was unhappy, off I'd go to improve 'The Plan'. I was even going to grow tomatoes hmm in my hideout that happened to be in a large park.

I never did it, though.

SamsGoldilocks Wed 03-Oct-12 18:55:16

Done the survey.

Rindercella Wed 03-Oct-12 19:11:05

I always remember DH telling me the story of how he was a teenager in Bristol in the 70s. He found a wallet in the street and being the good, law-abiding chap that he was, he went to the local police station to hand it in. While he was waiting to be seen, he said how struck he was by all the missing posters of teenagers there were. It deeply saddened him at the time - wondering where on earth all those young people could be - and it came back to haunt him when Fred & Rose West were exposed.

That very simple tale has always stuck with me when I think of runaway children. So desperately sad.

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 19:20:39

I would like to see a lot more help for families of troubled teenagers.

When we were coping with ds1 running away and sleeping rough, the choice we had was to cope alone, or to put him into care.

There was no help offered to us and to him within the family unit.

So I would like to see money put into mentoring schemes for young runaways because it isn't always the parents' fault, contrary to popular opinion. Sometimes the children are troubled and the parents are desperate to help, but just can't sad.

Sunflowergirl2011 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:22:29

When I was about 16 my then bf ran away from home (his parents were physically abusive) What shocked me (and still does) was how easy it was for someone to slip through the net and end up on the streets with no help. He lived in a 'good' area, went to a 'good' school and had lots of friends with stable home lives. One close friend had a dad who worked in social services. Despite all this it didn't take long for him to end up sleeping on the streets. scary sad

toldmywrath Wed 03-Oct-12 19:26:59

Hesterton I bet that boy never forgot your kindness & your taking an interest in him. Well done. We need more understanding of homelessness.

Cinnamonkey Wed 03-Oct-12 19:29:19

I don't really have anything to add, but I'm very glad Aviva are supporting this cause.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 03-Oct-12 19:29:23

It saddens me that it gets to the stage that so many children feel they have to get away. A girl several years below me at school from a very nice family ran away when she was about 14. She was found about a week later, turned out she was pregnant and from what I understand her family were very supportive. We didn't have any youth clubs or councilors at our school.

It seams sad that things go so far.

fluffywhitekittens Wed 03-Oct-12 19:32:44

I don't really have anything to add as dc are younger.

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