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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!

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Dec-12 16:05:20


I there any way i can get involved in this project eg volunteering in some way .

Hi connorandmaddiemom. How lovely of you. You could try looking at this page on the Railway Children's site.

Lobster Thu 20-Dec-12 09:13:17

What are the main reasons for leaving? I have twin 21 year olds, jobless & confused with life & on cannabis. We give love & support which is thrown in our face. But would never throw them out. They are in despair, but doubt they would leave home. It must take much sadness to go.

connorandmaddiesmom Wed 12-Dec-12 10:20:19

I there any way i can get involved in this project eg volunteering in some way .

There are some moving stories on this thread. Its so hard to read some of them. To all of you who are doing such positive work with these young people thanks.

SuiGeneris Wed 14-Nov-12 10:46:31

RowanMN thank you for following up on my question. DCs are very young and therefore so are the other children DH and I know, but will bear that in mind.

caramelwaffle Tue 13-Nov-12 20:21:51


RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Nov-12 15:09:49


We've had the following response from Railway Children in answer to the question about what you should do if you find a runaway child:


Thanks, SuiGeneris, this is a really good question.

As you might expect, there's no one simple answer, as there are so many different situations/circumstances which could have caused a child to run away. Every case is different, and must be treated individually, dependent up on the circumstances. Should you find yourself in this situation, we would urge you consider the following in order to help you decide what to do next:

a) Is the young person in danger? If so, the adult should call either the police or social care – your local social care duty team phone number can be found on your council website. However, bear in mind that this could cause a negative reaction from the young person, dependent on their circumstances. Many young people who have run away from home often seek to avoid being part of the 'system', and so if they're not in immediate danger, there may be other ways to offer them help and support.

b) If the young person would be open to receiving support and advice from a neutral source, encourage them to contact ChildLine (0800 1111) or Missing People (020 8392 4590).

Be careful to consider how well you know the young person – if you know them personally, they're perhaps more likely to take advice from you. Be careful to stop and think – are you making assumptions that the young person is running away from home, or do you know this to be the case? Be careful not to be seen to be judging them, as the young person may feel hurt by this.

The most important thing to do, is to help show them that there is support out there, and that they are not alone. Simply just being there and being able to talk – or even just listen – is often invaluable.

If you are worried about a teenager who could have run away, or could be thinking about it, have a look at our advice page for other practical tips from Mumsnetters.


gazzalw Wed 31-Oct-12 11:11:59

That's so very sad missusjen sad

missusjen Sun 28-Oct-12 13:44:41

My little brother ran away when he was 6, and was picked up within a few hours. I've never found anything so sad and disturbing as his bag full of underpants and things he considered treasure. I think some people are very troubled, whatever help is offered them, and whatever their circumstances are. He wasn't ever to be helped unfortunately, he was never happy and died earlier this year from alcoholism at 32. He spent almost all of his adult life homeless, living in hostels and shelters from 17 onwards.

jesuswhatnext Sat 27-Oct-12 10:53:49


caramelwaffle Sat 27-Oct-12 00:13:51


Mustdo2 Fri 26-Oct-12 20:06:37

Wouldn't it be great if charities and schools/social services could join forces and provide shelter for vulnerable young runaways? Outside of the school day, schools are empty buildings that could be used to accommodate children overnight and during weekends/holidays. Most children know where their local schools are so could find their way to a school of their choice to gain support and shelter.

QuickLookBusy Fri 26-Oct-12 20:02:14

That's fantastic news Rebecca.

Well done Mumsnet!

glenthebattleostrich Fri 26-Oct-12 18:05:00

What a fantastic cause, well done to Aviva for supporting it.

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Oct-12 17:18:55

Hi all,

Just a quick up date and a reminder that every single time you get involved in this campaign Aviva are donating £2 to Railway Children.

So far you've you've raised a whopping £15,056 thanks

And here's how:

There were 232 relevant contributions to discussions

1,030 people completed the survey

1,418 users spent more than 90 seconds on the discussion threads

4,535 users spent more than 90 seconds looking at Railway content

There were 126 tweets/facebook shares

187 people signed up to the panel

Thank you all so so much this money will go a long way to help some very vulnerable young people and here's how

BUT YOU CAN STILL HELP Aviva still have buckets more money to donate, so here are more ways to get involved Tell you friends, share on FB and drag folks over to this thread.


sassythebloodFIRSTy Fri 26-Oct-12 13:52:17

If you have the kind of young teens for whom this is an alien experience - or the type who might run off for attention/to make a point when there is no real need - I recommend you and they read a novel called 'Stone Cold' by Robert Swindells. It's a very realistic and hard-hitting account of why kids might choose to leave home, what might happen to them and the dangers they face when they do so. One bit in particular always strikes me as very effective whenever I read it with students (English teacher) - an account of a night on the streets with no major occurences, just coldness, being moved on, getting peed on by drunks etc.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Fri 26-Oct-12 10:52:20


QuickLookBusy Fri 26-Oct-12 09:22:47

Agree some of these stories are heartbreaking.

It would be fantastic if the charity Railway Children was well known to every child, just like childlike is, so that if they were going to runaway they knew they could phone someone who would help them.

Teladi Thu 25-Oct-12 22:12:33

My DD is only 1... I hope this is something that I never have to deal with. I think I probably would assume that it is something I won't have to deal with! I realise I am quite naive there. Thanks to Railway Children for the work that they do.

SuiGeneris Thu 25-Oct-12 22:04:36

Some of the stories on this thread are too heart-breaking to read. One question: what should an adult do if they come into contact with a runaway child?

SuiGeneris Thu 25-Oct-12 22:03:00

Excellent that Aviva is supporting this discussion. Was not aware of the railway children either....

OovoofWelcome Thu 25-Oct-12 20:24:28

Excellent work from mumsnet too.

OovoofWelcome Thu 25-Oct-12 20:23:59

Really really great.

OovoofWelcome Thu 25-Oct-12 20:23:41

An important topic. Brilliant that Aviva are sponsoring this discussion.

JackieLanaTurn Thu 25-Oct-12 16:39:14

I was 6 when I first ran away from home. I hated my home life and had very little hope that it would get better. I walked about a mile and a half to the top of the council estate I lived on and sat huddled near a house by the dual carriageway for about an hour. Nothing happened. No one came, so I walked back home. I got a bollocking for being late for tea! That was it.

I tried a couple of times later, but I wasn't brave enough to ever do it for real and I didn't like being cold and alone. My home conditions weren't great, but it was better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish. I was showing signs of depression by the time I got to secondary school. Wanted to kill myself, cried during lessons. None of it got picked up on. I can't imagine schools would get away with that these days. Or at least, I hope not.

I was bullied at school. Felt isolated socially. Was bright but penalised for that because I wasn't one of the little rich kids in school. Basically I was screwed no matter what. I also had an enormous chip on my shoulder. Or maybe even a bag of chips! I hated rich people because we were so poor. I hated them because the kids who picked on me were all from that socio-economic background. I hated them because I couldn't imagine ever having what they had.

I now have a good life. I have realised that my self-esteem issues arose because my mum didn't really love me. I have realised she didn't love me because she couldn't. She was depressed herself for most of my younger life and on valium and my dad, though he probably saved my life by showing me that you could be broke and happy, was a bit of a mysoginist (something I couldn't comprehend as a child). He made my mum very unhappy in many ways.

I dread to think what could have happened to me and I think my mum would have been sad if I had run away for real, maybe, but I'll never really know...

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