During the absence

Importance of maintaining contact

When a young person decides to run away, we must quickly follow the procedure in effect in our respective environments to declare them a runaway. However, the intervention does not stop there. We must be proactive, even when it is more difficult to reach the young person. It is important to make an effort to keep in touch with them, whether by phone, social networks, or leaving a message through partners, parents or any other significant person. This enables us to maintain the relationship with the young person, and let them know that we really care about them and look forward to seeing them again. This is also an important protective factor that helps us gauge the young person’s condition and level of risk-taking, while giving us the opportunity to offer support, if needed.

During this period, it is quite normal to have a variety of reactions, some of which may surprise us, such as worry, helplessness or guilt. By acknowledging these reactions, allowing ourselves to step back from them, and then seeking the support we need, we can remain objective and supportive. In addition, the people who live in the runaway’s home environment will also experience various emotions that we must be able to accept. We need to offer these people a space for dialogue to address their questions and concerns. This attention to the group or living environment will also make it easier to welcome the young person when they return.

Intervenants - Pendant la fugue
Intervenants - Pendant la fugue

Importance of concerted action

During the runaway’s absence, contact with the young person is sometimes maintained, sometimes interrupted. For this reason, co-operation among all potential partners is so crucial, not to mention the involvement of the parents.

By sharing the perspectives and information of everyone involved, we can better understand the various aspects of running away, including what triggers it, what it means, what aspirations and needs it addresses, and who the message of running away is intended for. In this way, we can offer the young person a satisfactory outcome, while ensuring their safety and development. From this moment on, it is important to properly prepare for the young person’s return so that it can be suitably personalized. It is even possible that the young person has made their own preparations.