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Journal Article


Edinburgh L, Huemann E, Saewyc E. J. Juv. Justice 2012; 1(2): 80-94.


(Copyright © 2012, In Public Domain (U.S. Department of Justice OJJDP), Publisher CSR)






Adolescents who run away face high rates of sexual and physical assault, yet there are no established brief screening tools that police can use to determine adolescents' safety or that help police refer such youth to needed services when they are located. We developed the 10-Question Tool for law enforcement officers to screen runaway youth about issues related to their safety. We reviewed 300 10-Question forms completed by law enforcement officers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Our analyses explored demographic characteristics of runaway youth, including their reasons for leaving home, disclosure of injury, sexual assault, and their need for health care. This novel approach to screening by law enforcement officers appears to identify, locate, and refer runaway teens needing services as a result of myriad harms, including sexual assault.

This is a novel intersectoral approach to brief screening of runaway youth by law enforcement that identifies youth at risk and connects them to needed resources. Police officers' use of the 10-Question Tool appears to locate significant numbers of newly assaulted runaways and connects them to needed health care. Partnerships with local Child Advocacy Centers and other services can help to ensure that such screening and referral meets the myriad needs of runaway youth.
Keywords: runaway youth, juvenile justice

Language: en


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