A report from the Children’s Society states that 18,000 children, under 11, run away each year in the UK. Shockingly, children who start running away before the age of 11 are nearly three times more likely to be sexually assaulted on the streets and twice as likely to be hit by their parents than older runaways. They are also more likely to sleep rough and be bullied at school.
Research also shows that 100,000 children under 16 (one in nine of the age group population) run away from home or care every year in the UK.
‘Ian Sparks Chief Executive of The Children’s Society said: “Running away at such a young age is a warning sign that a child is in trouble. We need to offer the support they need, when they need it. The Children’s Society has been campaigning for a network of safe places for young runaways for 15 years. It is essential that we don’t wait any longer.”
Barbara Roche, Minister of State in the Cabinet Office said: “We are taking the problems facing young people who run away very seriously in Government. These figures show just how important it is to tackle the problem. That’s why the Social Exclusion Unit is looking in depth at the issues which lead young people to run away.”
The Children’s Society: Under 11s Running Away in the UK and Home Run: Families and Young Runaways
Missing Persons Helpline (UK)
Tel: 0500 700 700
Fax: 0208 878 7752
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