Youngest runaways suffer the most

Children who start running away before the age of 11 are more
likely to sleep rough, be sexually assaulted while away, and be
repeatedly bullied at school, according to a report by the
Children’s Society, writes Katie

The research also shows that children who first run away before
the age of 11 are more likely to run away repeatedly, experience
learning difficulties, and be regularly hit by their parents.

Every year around 100,000 children under 16 run away or are
thrown out of home or care, of which at least 20,000 are under

Almost all of the runaways involved in the study said that the
problems they faced worsened after the age of 11, and around a
third reported physical or sexual abuse of them or their

Barbara Roche, cabinet office minister, said that the government
is taking the problems facing young people who run away very

“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,” she

The Children’s Society is calling for a national network
of street work services and refuges, as well as more awareness in
primary schools to prevent children from running away. It would
also like to see increased support for children with special
educational needs, more anti bullying strategies, and extra support
for services so they can be more responsive to the needs of young
children on the streets.

The findings are based on a survey of 13,000 young people aged
between 14 and 16 in 134 schools throughout the UK, as well as
interviews with 200 young people who have run away and 350

Child Runaways: Under 11s running away in the UK from
















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