MPs and charities urge help for 100,000 runaway children

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Indy Politics

A new all-party parliamentary group has been formed to address the plight of 100,000 children who run away each year.

It will meet for the first time on Wednesday with the Secretary of State for Education, Alan Johnson, and children's charities who will call on politicians to recommend immediate help for young runaways as a matter of urgency. According to the Children's Society, these people are highly vulnerable - with one in 12 being harmed while on the streets.

The group's chair, Labour MP Helen Southworth, said: "A child or young person needs to know that there is somewhere they can get help. As adults, it is our responsibility to get our act together and make this happen. It is shocking what has happened to some children who have been left to fend for themselves."

The charities are mounting a massive campaign to help thousands who run away every year, putting pressure on the Government to do more to prevent children from ending up on the streets. The groups, led by the Children's Society, said it was a matter of urgency to get around 100,000 runaways off the streets.

Martin Houghton-Brown of the Children's Society said: "Now is the time for charities, parliamentarians and Government tostart working together to change things so that every child who needs to run from harm's way can stay safe."