Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults – has backed calls for greater support for the country’s young runaways.
Bob pledged his support for this vital cause following the launch of The Children’s Society’s new report, Make Runaways Safe, which reveals that children as young as eight are running away from home or care. In most cases they are not being reported to the authorities by their parents and carers when they go missing.
The Children’s Society is calling on the Government to provide greater support for the 100,000 children who run away from home each year.
The report found that many young runaways fall into grave danger and are at risk of harm, physical abuse or sexual exploitation.
The leading children’s charity is working more with “pre-teen” runaways – the average age had previously been 13 and 14, yet it is supporting increasing numbers of 11 and 12 year olds. It is also working with a rising numbers of boys.
The Children’s Society is calling for a national safety net to be put in place for every child who runs away.
This would include the government drawing up a national runaways’ action plan to significantly boost help and support for everyone involved, the charity argues.
“The situation faced by children who run away in this country is simply unacceptable. They must be given a greater level of support and this must be a priority for government.”
The Children’s Society’s Chief Executive Bob Reitemeier said:
“Every child who runs away should run to safety. Society is failing young runaways, condemning tens of thousands of children to misery and danger by failing to provide an adequate safety net to break their fall.”