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21 November 2012, 06:00
A charity's warned of an alarming rise in the number of children going missing - especially in places like Northamptonshire.
New figures from the charity Railway Children suggest five times more youngsters ran away from home in some areas last year, compared with 2008.
The charity says in 2008, 885 children were reported as running away from home in Northamptonshire - rising to 1,827 in 2011.
Andy McCullough, Railway Children's head of strategy and policy told Heart: "It is alarming to see the numbers of children reported missing across the country has risen so significantly year on year.
Of those who are reported missing, the majority are young people who have run away from home or care. Children run away for many reasons, ususally to escape things they find stressful such as problems with school or care.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Anecdotal research indicates as many as too thirds of young people who run away from home are not even reported mssing and may be too vulnerable and afraid to seek help from official services. "
Across the UK, it is estimated one child aged 16 or under runs away from home every five minutes - that's around 100,000 children a year.
Mr McMcCullough added: "There is a clear need for UK society to collectively take responsibility to tackle this issue at its' cause.
I would urge all parents to talk to each other and their children about running away from home, to raise awareness of this alarming issue and its' realities.
Railway Children and Mumsnet have created an online space to help parents talk to the their children at HERE