Reuniting Runaways – Return Home Interviews Explained

Whether you live with your parents, extended family or in care, returning home after you’ve run away can feel a little bit scary. A lot of young people who run away are worried that their loved ones will be angry with them or that they will be in trouble. Other young runaways may be scared to go home because of abuse or exploitation.

When a young person chooses to return home after running away, there are a few different steps that the social services will take in order to protect the young person and make sure that they are not at risk. One of these steps is the Return Home Interview. In Norfolk these are often carried out by the Runaways team at the Rose Project and we’re an independent charity with lots of experiencing helping runaways.

What is a Return Home Interview?

A Return Home Interview is an Informal chat offered to all young people after they have runaway.

The chat will take place in a neutral place, so you don’t have to worry about friends or family listening to what you say, and it will be conducted by someone who’s specially trained and who’s used to working with young people.

They’ll talk to you about why you ran away and the things that happened to you while you were missing. The person who does the interview will have a lot of experience in talking to runaways and listening their problems and fears, so you shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to be honest and open with them.

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What happens in a Return Home Interview?

The point of a Return Home Interview is to identify any dangers or risks that runaways are faced with and to find out whether they’ve been exploited while they were missing.

The person you speak to will be looking to find out the reasons why you left home in the first place. They’ll talk to you about whatever you’d like to discuss, whether it’s violence, bullying, sexual exploitation or anything else – you’re in charge of how the chat goes. We’ll try to find out whether you’re happy and safe at home, or if you’re at risk from your family or from friends or relatives.

If you were hurt or exploited during the time that you were away from home, the person you talk to will listen to however much information you’d like to share, whether a little or a lot and help explain where the best places will be for you to go for the support that you need.

It’s important to remember that you are in charge of the interview so it should go at a pace that suits you. The person you’re talking to is there for you, so take the opportunity to get any worries off your chest and tell your story from your point of view.

Why do you need a Return Home Interview?

A Return Home Interview will help us to provide you with the help and support you need, whatever that might be.

The person you talk to will also tell you about organisations like the Rose Project which are dedicated to helping young people affected by CSE whether they’ve run away from home or not.

For more advice on how to deal with exploitation, check out our other blog posts and if you’ve been exploited and need some support call the Rose Project on 0808 800 1037.