Who are runaways and why do they run away?

There is no universal definition of a runaway, but Missing Children Europe defines runaways as “all children who run away from home or are pushed out of home, or from the institution where they have been placed.” Running away is often an indicator that something is wrong in a child’s life. Our research has shown that 83% of children who ran away reported that facing difficulties at home was the main reason they ran away, and 63.6% stated that violence was the leading problem within their home. Other adverse experiences that increase the risk of running away include, bullying, mental health, and relationship breakdowns. Once on the streets, runaways face increasing risks to their safety and long-term well-being.

Facts & Figures


of missing children cases reported to the 116 000 hotlines were children that run away.


of missing children who faced violence and/or abuse were runaway children.


of children running away will return within a week, but if the situation remains, there’s a high chance of running away in future.



The RADAR project aims to achieve genuine progress in the understanding of children who run away, and to reframe running away as an indicator of adverse childhood experiences, in order to provide runaway children with better care and protection across the EU.

Learn more

We need you on our side!

Learn how you can help support Missing Children Europe and what projects need your funding.

Donate to help

Want to know more? Sign up to our newsletter and stay up to date with Missing Children Europe projects, news and events.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.