CHICAGO -- The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) annually reviews data collected from its calls and online chats where it provides crisis services. From the 2013 crisis connections it found that family dynamics was the No. 1 issue cited, friends and family were the main means of survival when a youth had run, and nearly half of the youth who had run were on the street for one to three days before reaching out to NRS for help.
"This statistical data is critical to the National Runaway Safeline and other agencies that serve runaway, homeless and at-risk youth and their families," said Maureen Blaha, NRS executive director. "It provides insights into who these youth are and what are their needs so services to best help them can be developed."
Additional findings from the 2013 crisis connections include:
-- Family dynamics (28 percent) was the most frequently identified problem by youth in crisis. The next significant group of issues was abuse (14 percent), including neglect, physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse. Peer and social issues are indicated by 10 percent of the crisis connections.
-- 72 percent reaching out to NRS for help were female.
-- Friends and relatives were the most frequently identified means of survival (71 percent) for youth in crisis.
-- The most common time on the street before reaching out for help was one to three days at 44 percent.
-- The largest group of youth contacting NRS was age 17 at 23 percent.
The National Runaway Safeline, formerly known as the National Runaway Switchboard, established in 1971, serves as the federally-designated national communication system for runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. NRS, with the support of more than 150 volunteers, makes more than 250,000 connections to help and hope through hotline (1-800-RUNAWAY), online (1800RUNAWAY.org) and offline resources. NRS provides crisis intervention, referrals to local resources, and education and prevention services to youth, families and community members throughout the country 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information or to download all crisis connection statistics, visit 1800RUNAWAY.org.