Runaways 'fear abuse'

ONE IN seven teenagers between 14 and 16 have run away from home, far more than previously thought, a survey published today says.

Often they hide in ditches to avoid being caught. The research, Hidden Truths - Young People's Experience of Running Away, was commissioned by the Children's Society. Based on interviews with more than 1,000 schoolchildren, the survey shows most young people run away as a result of abuse or family problems. But many are fearful of police and social services, believing they will be returned home. Police deal with about 100,000 incidents involving runaways each year. Some parents do not report their children missing for fear of drawing attention to abuse while others know where their children are.