Q555: I want to leave home, is there an official age when I can leave?

There is no official age. As long as you can show that you are living in accommodation which is a safe environment (e.g. you are not at risk from drugs, prostitution, violence etc.) and you have a stable respectable method of supporting yourself financially, it should be ok to leave at 16 years or older, certainly no younger.

If you are over 16 but under 18, then there is a possibility that your parents/guardian could get an order to force you to return home. However, if you meet the conditions stated above then it is unlikely that it would be successful. If however you are under 16, then it is much more than likely that the order would be successful and you would have to return home or into care.

If you just run away, you could be in terrible danger. There could be consequences for young people who leave home and get into the wrong company. Making the wrong move could ruin your life.

Remember it is NOT what you judge is ok, but what the people/authorities responsible for your welfare think is safe. You should try and do this with their support if possible. If there is a serious underlying problem at home, talk to someone else, a teacher, or a trusted adult relation, or contact the charity Childline on 0800 1111 (or go to their website at www.childline.org.uk).

Do not act in haste. Get as much advice and help as you can before you decide what to do.

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