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!

edam Sat 13-Oct-12 23:38:54

Thanks worldofmeh, it's complicated but he has his moments.

caramelwaffle Sat 13-Oct-12 23:42:38

An extra £2 to donate.

2MumsAreBetterThan1 Sun 14-Oct-12 01:07:52

This issue needs highlighting more.

It's one of those things people just don't think about and never expect it to happen.

I had never heard of railway children or realised so many children run away.

MAybe if a helpline, safe houses etc were publicised then children would have somewhere to turn before getting to the point of running away.

2MumsAreBetterThan1 Sun 14-Oct-12 01:13:25

One thing i would like to know is how is a run away identified?

As awful as it sounds how do you know they have runaway and not been taken, the ones missing for a long time i mean.

How on earth can such young children vanish and never be seen again, they must be supporting themselves somehow.

Fretty Sun 14-Oct-12 09:24:34

DS is still little so luckily have no first hand experience. However I am really shocked by the scale of the problem. Never realised before how many young kids are out there.

I honestly wouldn't know what to do or how to help if I was faced with a situation where parents or a runaway kid needed help. Raising general awareness is a good place to start for all charitable or government organisations involved.

So this is it for the 2quid ;-)

Redsilk Sun 14-Oct-12 10:28:33

When I was young, my parents took in a classmate of my brother who had run away from home. He had run into trouble with his father for doing drugs.
He stayed for a few weeks before returning home. Last I heard, he's now in prison. Still wish we could have done more for him.

Blu Sun 14-Oct-12 12:43:27

I was chair of a charity that undertakes particluar work with with homeless people. A large proportion of teen boys who left home had left because either their fathers had reacted violently to them coming out as gay, or being suspected of being gay, or else because of violence and or hostility from the new partner of their mother.

A large proportion of teen girls had fled because of sexual abuse, often from a mother's new partnr.

Trills Sun 14-Oct-12 12:45:20

Every contribution including this one?

Trills Sun 14-Oct-12 12:45:24

And this one?

Trills Sun 14-Oct-12 12:45:30

And this one?

Trills Sun 14-Oct-12 12:45:36

But not this one.

Blu Sun 14-Oct-12 12:46:53

Running away seems to be so intrinsically linked to a web of problems all of which demand separate solutions.

Sadly, running away rarely seems to improve any situation for young teens and often led them to worse situations than those they had fled.

Blu Sun 14-Oct-12 12:47:55

I have not known about the Railway Children, and will now click the link to check them out.

Well done AVIVA!

TicketToHull Sun 14-Oct-12 15:26:56

I'm glad to see Railway Children being publicised - was mentioned by someone on radio 4 I think and thought it sounded like a really good idea.

TicketToHull Sun 14-Oct-12 15:29:43

Blu I'm so saddened, but not surprised, to hear this.

ladygoldenlion Sun 14-Oct-12 17:43:27

My sister ran away when we were much younger - she finally walked in the door when it was dark but by that time the police were out looking for her.

I really support this initiative.

caramelwaffle Sun 14-Oct-12 18:03:42

My third post to make it up to £6

turnipvontrapp Sun 14-Oct-12 22:23:06

My DS age 8 ran away round the corner in a mood and hid in some trees. We found him quite quickly but still a bit heart stopping so well done aviva for supporting this.

EverybodysSpookyEyed Sun 14-Oct-12 22:39:01

Just wanted to bump for the £2!

Agree this sounds a great idea

edam Sun 14-Oct-12 23:03:18

I didn't just run away when I was little, I tried to take the whole street with me. <preens> My plot was only discovered when someone noticed the carrier bag hidden under the rosebush. My mother was very impressed that I'd packed toothbrushes and spare pants.

(I wasn't upset at home or anything, just wanted to go back to the village we'd just moved from to see my honorary Aunt and Uncle and thought it'd be nice to take all my friends as well.)

DeepPurple Sun 14-Oct-12 23:28:44

Bumping for the money

EduCated Mon 15-Oct-12 08:10:37

<Points up thread to where they said it has to be a proper post, not just a bump>

I've been thinking about this more and more. I live opposite a day centre for the homeless and I've been wondering about when children stop being runaways and start being homeless people. It must be an incredibly difficult cycle to break out of, and older teens must be in a far worse position of slipping through the net and bei g regarded as homeless, and intentionally so.

Trills Mon 15-Oct-12 08:23:39

"'Running away from home' is defined by the charity Railway Children as a child spending one night or more away from home without parental permission. "

Well if that's the definition then no wonder the stats are high. A child of divorced parents could tell mum they were with dad, tell dad they were with mum, and go stay with a friend. They'd be away from home without parental permission, but not "running away" in any way that we'd recognise. Or does it only count if the parents notice that they are not where they should be?

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 08:56:47

That's a massive problem EduCated.

ds was 14 when he started running away. Theoretically, at 14, he should have been treated as a child. 16 is sort of the cut off point for child services (here in Ireland), and 18 is the start point for adult services.

The difficulty with kids who run away from home for no obvious reason is that they are likely to run away from wherever they are housed as they won't obey the rules of foster parents/care homes any more than they will their own parents.

So they tend to get put in more adult places. The only space ds was offered was a bed in an adult homeless hostel (at 14 shock).

MaryZed Mon 15-Oct-12 09:01:10

And one other thing - once a child has run away more than a couple of times, they become a "habitual runaway", and the police aren't interested.

The first couple of times ds didn't come home, the police helped us find him by driving around, checking out friends' houses (including a couple of the local drug dealers hmm) and bringing him home.

Once he had done it a couple of times, they refused to get involved. As far as they were concerned it was his choice (at 14, ffs, ridiculous).

With the result that when he went missing for 48 hours in the middle of winter, we were left on our own to find him, and in the end discovered him sleeping out in the local woods, soaked through and starving sad.

But again, it was "his choice" and there was nothing we could do.

His reason for running away, btw, was that he didn't want to obey our rules. And by that stage we had given up on any strict rules and were trying to get him to stop drinking and smoking dope, and to come home at night, that's all sad.

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