Call for urgent action to halt the alarming rise in runaways

More than 1,800 children run away from home or are reported missing in Northamptonshire each year, according to a new report.

The report, by the charity Railway Children, uses figures collected from Northamptonshire Police under a Freedom of Information request which reveal the number of children reported missing has more than doubled in four years, from 885 in 2008 to 1,827 in 2011.

The charity is urging the Government to stop further cuts to one-to-one support and commit to a national action plan which recognises the risks faced by children who run away from home, many fleeing physical and sexual abuse.

Terina Keene, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Deterioration in family relationships is leaving many children without an adult they can turn to when in need. No matter how streetwise or independent a teenage runaway may seem, a closer look all too often reveals a child desperately trying to survive and at risk of grooming and abuse.

“This Government cannot afford to turn its back on young people.”