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Runaway hotline: LGBTQ, economics and neglect issues are on increase

CHICAGO -- The National Runaway Switchboard (NRS) is reporting an increase in the number of crisis calls over the last three years to its (800) RUNAWAY hotline from or about youth who identify economics (27% increase), as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) (7% increase) issues.

Meanwhile, family dynamics (28%); neglect, physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse (13%); and peer and social issues (11%) including bullying are the most cited issues by callers in 2011.

This information is featured in the annual "NRS Crisis Caller Trends Report" released today. It covers crisis calls to (800) RUNAWAY from 2000 to 2011, and was written by Jennifer Benoit-Bryan, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois in Chicago and Beth Kovacic, an independent research analyst.

"This research helps us to create and target programs and services that keep youth safe and off the streets," said Maureen Blaha, NRS executive director.

Other youth crisis caller findings in the report:

Caller Status: Calls received from homeless youth increased 5% over the past year and 50 percent over the past three years. Throwaway youth also increased 3% over the past year and 18% over the past three years.

Time on the Street Before Calling NRS: NRS received 32% more calls over the past year and 48% over the past three years from youth who have been on the street for six months or more.

Age: Over the past year, calls increased from youth aged 21 by 14%, from youth that are 12 years old and under by 5%, and youth aged 13 by 11%. The largest group of crisis callers to NRS in 2011 was age 17 at 20%.

To help with one of the peer and social issues cited during the crisis calls, bullying, NRS is executing a radio and television public service announcement campaign this month so youth and their families know to use NRS as a resource if a child becomes a victim of bullying.

For more information, or to download the full report, visit HERE.

SOURCE: National Runaway Switchboard