Children and young people run away for a number of reasons, but it can often feel like running away hasn't achieved anything or that nothing has really changed for you, when you return home. It might even feel worse If this is how you feel, talking to someone can help.
If you have been reported missing to the Police, on your return a Police Officer will visit you to undertake a Safe and Well check.
What is a Safe and well check?
A Police Officer will talk to you to make sure that you are safe and well and haven't come to any harm whilst you've been away, and they will also want to know:
where you went
who you were with
what you did.
They will also talk to you about your reasons for running away, if are you safe at home, if anyone is hurting you and if there is anything that they can do to help so that you don't runaway again. They will also want to talk to your parents or carers.
The Police will record details of the Safe and Well Interview and may share this information with other professionals.
After you have returned you will also be offered the opportunity to talk to someone in a Return Interview.
What is a Return Interview?
Local councils, like Leeds City Council have a responsibility to offer a return interview to all children and young people who have been reported as missing to the police.
The word “interview” sounds quite formal but really it’s just an opportunity for you to talk to a responsible adult about why you went missing. It’s not about being in trouble or getting anyone else into trouble.
Why we do return interviews?
We do return interviews to listen to you and understand your reasons for running away or for being reported missing. Then together, with you, we will try and work out what we might be able to do, to help and support you, so that you don’t feel the need to run away or so that you are not reported missing again.
If you are being harmed, or feel scared, or sad, or if you have a problem that you feel you can’t deal with, the return interview gives you an opportunity to talk to someone about this and what help and support you might want.
The return interview also provides an opportunity for us to give you information which might help you to stay safe.
What happens in a return interview?
The interview usually lasts for about an hour, but you can have as long as you need to talk.
We try and meet with you alone, so that you feel able to talk to us, but if you would rather, you can have an adult you trust, such as a parent, carer or teacher with you. We can also meet you somewhere where you feel safe and comfortable.
We will you talk to you about why you went missing, what happened while you were away, where you spent your time and who you were with.
We will write down what you tell us so that we don’t forget what you say. At the end of our meeting we will check with you that what we have written is correct.
In order to ensure your safety, we will need to share the information with other people. We will tell you who with, why and what information we are sharing.
At the end of your return interview, you can decide what, if anything, you might need or want to do next.
We will make sure that you know how to get help or support and that you know who you can contact if you just need to talk again.
To request a copy of the Return Interview leaflet email: firstname.lastname@example.org