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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!

GW297 Wed 03-Oct-12 19:51:10

Good on Aviva for raising money and awareness. Being a teenager can be such a tough time and some children have such terrible home lives. I hope everyone posts etc.

TheAngelshavetheOod Wed 03-Oct-12 19:58:09

I'm working with a few teens who aren't living with their parents. Through parental choice and the child's left home voluntarily ( could be classed as run away ?). There's many more homeless teens than you actually realise.

LineRunner Wed 03-Oct-12 19:58:44

I hope that George Osborne will put his hand in his pocket also.

goldygumdrops Wed 03-Oct-12 20:00:51

I rememeber thinking about running away as a child. I was very depresse. My parents didn't have a clue.

RubyrooUK Wed 03-Oct-12 20:05:21

My friend ran away from home when a teenager because she could not bear her life with her very very very strict parents. Luckily she had friends to rely on and spent the next few months being cared for by various people and their mums and dads if not her parents. She was prepared to sleep rough but many adults stepped up to the plate and gave her a temporary home.

Her parents essentially needed counselling to help them and my friend work out an acceptable way to live. My friend was not allowed any freedoms and her parents simply wanted to protect her from life but had gone completely OTT.

But before her parents came to accept this (and to their credit they did get family counselling and moved on to some extent) they spent months not knowing where their 14/15 year old daughter was. It was very sad.

thisthreadwilloutme Wed 03-Oct-12 20:13:55

I have a very vivid memory from my childhood which has always stayed with me. When I was about 5 I woke up one morning to find out that my Mum had stayed up late the night before (we lived in a quiet village) and had answered a knock at the door at one in the morning. Stood in front of her was a soaked 12 year old who had walked 5 miles over fields having run away from home. My Mum brought him into the house, gave him a hot drink and talked to him. He was basically just going through normal teenage problems and had run away, however the heavy rain and long walk had made him have second thoughts. My mum talked to him for an hour about her teenage years and by the end he asked to go home. My mum called his family and drove him home. He sent chocolates a week later and a letter saying he was happy and things were much better at home.

My mum could have ignored the door, she could have sent him away, but she saw in that boy her own two sons and hoped that if they were ever in a similar situation someone would care enough to help them out. I often think about that boy and hope that he was happy and my mum sometimes speaks about him so I know she thinks about him too.

I would like to see more information out there for young people who are thinking about running away and support for those who already have. This campaign is a great start to publicise the fantastic work of The Railway Children. Hopefully it will help raise lots of money for this great cause and help out lots of children in real need.

UntamedShrew Wed 03-Oct-12 20:48:49

Two shiny pounds, you say?
does this count?

Asmywhimsytakesme Wed 03-Oct-12 21:16:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

euwa Wed 03-Oct-12 21:25:26

Wrote a short paragraph and for some reason had problems and it has not appeared. Can't re-write but want to the £2 donation to be added. I did try.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 03-Oct-12 21:26:23

I ran away from home when I was about 13. My mum was a nasty, abusive, violent cow. I slept in a graveyard and was picked up by the police and taken home. They never asked me why I'd run away.

poppy283 Wed 03-Oct-12 21:26:50

My best friend ran away from her controlling parents to my house when we were 14. They came to get her the next day though.
She went off the rails a bit after that and ended up being sent back to her native country.

ZigZagWanderer Wed 03-Oct-12 21:34:30

I planned to run away when I was aged 9 - 13.
I was always being picked on at school, always fought with siblings and a bit neglected by parents.
I planned to run to my gran 80 miles away. I knew the buses I would need to get then the underground route.
I never got money to do it but if I felt sad I would fantasise about it. I even had a grab bag ready.
Things got better when I left school, home life was calmer and i just forgot about it.
I wished to live with my gran though, I missed her so much.
I wasn't aware of ANY child service at the time, but looking back I probably would have bottled it even if I had a real chance.

Thanks Aviva. smile

SarryB Wed 03-Oct-12 21:40:45

Replying just for the £2 donation.

OliviaPeaceAndLoveMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Oct-12 21:43:08


Two shiny pounds, you say?
does this count?

No. Sorry grin
Donations will only count for posts about running away, please.
BUT if you'd like a super easy way to donate, just clicking 'recommend' will also donate two incredibly shiny pounds.

Sorry not to be clearer.

StellaAndFries Wed 03-Oct-12 22:25:41

I was very lucky and had an uneventful childhood and never ran away from home, however my parents are foster carers and have taken in children for respite or emergency care who have run away from home. I never realised how large the problem was until they were carers.

OliviaPeaceAndLoveMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 03-Oct-12 22:33:53


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!

Hi NextPhase
On the survey Aviva point out that "'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. "

Hope this helps

PiousPrat Wed 03-Oct-12 23:01:52

I can well believe it is a massive problem. Back when I was in high school (not really the dim and distant past, mid 90s) I can remember 5 kids running away just off the top of my head. I'm sure there were probably more that I either didn't know or have forgotten. In at least 3 cases, half the school knew where the child in question was, usually in someone's bottom of the garden hang out or a farm outbuilding. In those 3 cases though, we also all know they were better off sleeping in a barn than being at home sad

Official options weren't really known about then, especially for good kids with bad parents. In that respect it seems little has changed in 50 years. My Nan had 7 kids of her own but spent about 15 years having at least 8 children living with her, despite several of her own growing up and moving out by then. Some of them were troubled kids, some had crappy home lives, some were just having problems for a while and needed a bit of space. There was absolutely nothing for most of them other than to hope they got taken in by someone.

I sincerely hope that Aviva's donation helps the Railway Children make a positive difference.

DoubleYew Wed 03-Oct-12 23:11:37

I remember when my brother ran away when I was about 7 or 8. He was (supposed to be) at boarding school so my parents tried to hide it from me but I found it very frightening as they did not explain what was happening. It affects the whole family, not just the parents.

SirBoobAlot Thu 04-Oct-12 00:20:34

I nearly ran away several times. One of my then friends left and came back (or rather, was returned by the police) several times. To be honest he's 22 now and still not really back on track.

There needs to be more support for the individuals and the families, as I watched them falling apart too.

Is 17 classed as a child? When I was 17 I went to my parttime job one sunday and just never went home. I had nowhere to go. No money. But I couldnt face home anymore.

My parents never called the police. When I changed my mind four days later and asked to go home my mum laid out a list of "conditions" which were farsical. I declined. I moved in with estranged family (who I hadnt seen for 7 years) and got on with my life.

Im 25 now, for a while I did speak to my parents again. But a leopard never changes its spots. I have cut them out of my life.

I never considered it running away, but people who know about it do.

Lavenderhoney Thu 04-Oct-12 06:16:36

I ran away when I was 9. Lying in bed listening to drunken shouting couldn't stand it anymore. Packed 2 carriers with my favourite books, went down stairs, put my anorak on over my nightie, got my Welles on as it was raining, climbed out the lounge window - they were so busy shouting in the kitchen didn't notice. Set off up the fields to the woods. Peace at last apart from the rain. My sister found me an hour later- she was 17- and took me home, into the kitchen where they were raging at each other. Cue new row about who was worst parent not to notice I had gone. Was shouted at and sent to bed, but door locked. Ran away again at 16, but had organised myself a live in job at the other end of the country. Shame really as I had a good place at college and wanted to go, but could not face living at home. There was no other option. They never discussed it with me, either episode. People with normal parents have no idea. None. Still feel envious of others with great mums and dads. The school were hopeless, just wanted to bring parents in. Why do people assume parents will admit a mistake and not take it out n kids at home?

Goatbongosanonynous Thu 04-Oct-12 07:11:05

Yy to people here saying that families need help within the unit. My sister ran away age 14 - I was 8. She was returned with a polite 'here you go', and no one seemed interested either in cause or effect. Perhaps as on the surface we were a naice middle class family, dad in eminent job, mum a SAHM. What could possibly be wrong?
I remember very little of exactly what happrned, but it was a tough time for everyone, siblings included.

ajandjjmum Thu 04-Oct-12 07:17:47

I remember running away on several occasions - normally just for an hour or so, when I set up camp under a tree in the garden. Although once I had to come back because I'd missed the bus! I remember with blush though one occasion when I ran away, and actually went to our next door neighbour's house. We lived on a hill, and I watched my parents cars drive up and down the road and across the common, looking for me.

I have in my drawer a note my DS left once when he was around 5 - it reads 'I just want to say goodbye'.

Thinking about those who have DC missing at the moment, and hoping for their safe return.

BumptiousandBustly Thu 04-Oct-12 07:54:29

When I was at school someone ran away - got about 60 miles away, but when stopped by the police gave his real name, so was brought straight home. (This is the story as gathered by a 14 year old as gossip).

i remember he was one of the more troubled kids (but this is in a very very middleclass area - so troubled is pushing it) but did manage to burn down the cricket pavilion by trying to light his own farts!

glitch Thu 04-Oct-12 08:13:58

I ran away when I was younger but only for a few hours. My mum was frantic though.
I think we forget as we get older just how hard it is to talk to someone when you are young and feeling troubled.

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