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NSW Underage Sister Has Run Away - Can She be Forced Home?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Ashley, 18 December 2014.

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  1. Ashley

    Ashley Member

    18 December 2014
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    My 13 year old sister has run away from home just over a week ago, and my family would like to get her home. We've tracked her down to a home that's she's staying at and would like to know 2 things .
    1- can we force her home? There are absolutely no reasons behind her running away, she's inderage and under my mother's legal responsibility. Is there any legal backing in making her come home or do we just have to beg and plead and hope for the best?
    2- the people that know she's run away and are still allowing her to stay, are they legally responsible? Can they receive any legal ramifications for knowingly allowing her to stay with them?
    We just want her home :/
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    Sounds like your sister is handling the teenage years well. :)

    There aren't really any legal avenues here because the Family Law Act 1975 doesn't stipulate an age at which a child is permitted to leave home. The authorities generally won't force a child above the age of 16 to return home, but a child under 16 will likely be returned to their parents by the police. You could consider contacting the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to discuss your options, or the police might be able to give some direction, as well.

    There's also some other issues that should be addressed as a matter of course, including finding out what prompted her to run away. Kids sometimes do it following an argument or because they subliminally enjoy the drama, but they can also do it for more serious underlying reasons. Either way, it's usually something to be addressed gently. There's a support network called Toughlove that deals specifically with kids demonstrating worrying behaviour, but Relationships Australia can give some great information, too.

    Your sister will no doubt find it difficult to get by in the world on her own. I don't believe kids under the age of 13 and 9 months are permitted to work, and she also has no legal footing for making decisions about her own healthcare.

    I don't believe the people giving her shelter will be held responsible unless they're holding her against her will, but if they're providing a safe place while she's being stubborn, that's better than her being on the street.

    Hope this helps, and good luck.
    lawoffice1 and Sarah J like this.

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