Lack of freedom among reasons teenagers run away

KUALA LUMPUR: The quest for freedom is among the major factors why children and teenagers want to run away from home, says Sexual, Women and Children’s Investigation Division (D11) principal assistant director ACP Choo Lily (pic).

She cited the 1,302 cases of missing children last year involving those aged between 12 and 15.

Out of that number, she said that 662 of them ran away from home as they wanted freedom from their family or guardians.

“Apart from wanting freedom, another cause of teenage runaways is peer group influence, involving 184 cases, and family problems, involving 170 cases.

“There are also cases of the teenagers running away with their lovers or their mother or father, in the case of divorced parents.

“And some ran away from home because they had no interest in studying and wanted to work, ” she said.

She said there were also cases of children running away from shelter homes.

The missing teenagers, when found by police, refused to return to their family because they were comfortable with their new-found lives, she added.

Choo said out of the 1,302 cases of missing children that were reported, 1,186 had been found.

She said Johor had the highest number of cases on missing children last year involving 193 people, followed by Selangor (189), Sabah (182) and Sarawak (115).

On the National Urgent Response Alert or NUR Alert that was launched in 2007, she said the system was effective and had helped police in tracking down the victims.

“Through Nur Alert, we are able to trace the victims fast with information provided by the public, ” she said.

She said parents or guardians should report to the police immediately upon realising their children were missing.

They need not have to wait for 24 hours to do so as in the case of an adult missing, she added. — Bernama

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