Why Do Young People Run Away From Home?

No young person wants to run away from home.

Sometimes, however, the situations a vulnerable child faces at home may make their living situation unbearable, leaving them with no choice but to run away.

The Children’s Society have recently released a report that investigates the reasons why a child or young person may decide to run away. The report has found that some of the most common reasons why a young person may run away include grooming, problems with family, abuse and drugs and alcohol.


Exploiters can take advantage of children both online and offline, gaining a child’s trust and encouraging them to leave home. By creating this situation, it is easier for the exploiter to force the young person into a life of crime or sexually abuse them in exchange for a place to stay.

If you notice a young person seems to suddenly have lots of money or new items, with no way to explain how they paid for them, it may be possible that someone is giving the young person money and grooming them.

Problems with family

If a young person is constantly arguing with their family members, it can be difficult for that child to feel safe at home. It is normal for family members to disagree with each other occasionally, however when this is a daily occurrence, it may make the child feel seriously unhappy.

Arguments can occur on different topics ranging from issues such as pocket money to major reasons such as domestic abuse.


The signs of child abuse can be extremely difficult to spot until it is too late. There are many different types of child abuse, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

As such, signs of abuse can vary enormously from psychical indicators such as bruises and cuts to less obvious signs like reduced attendance at school.

Drugs and Alcohol

When people ask themselves why teenagers run away from home, one of the most common reasons that people think is that the child is abusing or addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Parental substance misuse is also a common reason as to why a young person may run away. Often, their home environment becomes unbearable due to their parent’s addiction. Either way, drug and alcohol abuse often bring adults and young people into contact with criminals and encourages a dependency which may be exploited by others.

A Wilderness Way

When children run away from home, it is much easier for criminals to take advantage of these young people and push them into a world of violence and illegal activity.

At A Wilderness Way, we provide a range of activities to support the young people within our care, some of which may have left home due to the reasons listed above. We support these young people with access to our Wilderness Experiences and crisis intervention. To find out more, email us on

What Others Say About Us

I am truly taken aback by the level of care you have shown. The staff have gone out of their way to show him the attention and care that he has never had. When I visited him, it was like I was looking at a different child to what he was before he came. He was not like a child in care, he was like a child in a family. You have literally saved his life.

Social Worker

All children and young people thrive, and they make progress while living at the home. Because of the services provided the children and young people experience an individualised, stable and consistent home life. Children and young people benefit from the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to education and care. They each achieve their full potential and, in many cases, do so beyond previous expectations.


I am so grateful to the AWW team for their dedication and commitment to caring and supporting Sam. He recently reported that being at there gave him the space to think and the opportunity to reflect on his attitude and make plans for his future.

Social Worker

I have to share my delight at Luke’s progress at AWW. Thanks to your support, in the last 17 weeks Luke and has turned his life around significantly. From where he has come from to where he is now, I am so proud of him.

Social Worker

The placement was really good and beneficial to me. The staff were all really supportive and nice and always made themselves available to me if I had any problems. The outdoor activities that were offered helped me to have a better outlook and showed me that I can do so much more in life, and it really helped me process and made me feel like a better person.


As METCO Officer for Cumbria Police I have regular contact with the team at AWW in relation to vulnerable children at risk of CSE and going missing. If a specific incident has occurred, the Home Manager and I speak on the phone to discuss the best way forward. She also attends CSE risk assessment meetings and we receive Philomena Protocol forms when a young person arrives in placement.

Cumbria Police