Letter to Editor: Alcohol Awareness Week: Harm to children

Health / Thu 4th Jul 2024 at 08:56am

Dear Editor,

ALCOHOL Awareness Week is a campaign from Alcohol Change UK and this year runs from 1st July until 7th July. It serves as a reminder of the potential harm caused by drinking alcohol to excess and as an opportunity to learn more about the role it plays in our society.

Here at the NSPCC, our thoughts are continuously with children and we know that sometimes alcohol can be a contributing factor in cases of abuse and neglect.

Last year, the NSPCC Helpline took an average of six calls a day from adults concerned about a child linked to parental alcohol or substance misuse. In the same timeframe, our Childline counsellors delivered over 300 counselling sessions on this issue to children concerned about their parents struggles with addiction.

Alcohol misuse is when someone’s drinking becomes harmful or they become dependent on drink, and while it might have negative effects on that person, it can also harm their family too.

Living with a parent that suffers with alcohol dependence can also leave them feeling scared, lonely, confused, neglected, embarrassed and in some cases ashamed. If they’re living in a situation like this, it’s so important they know that this is not their fault and help is available for them. Every child has the right to a loving home, and they shouldn’t have to cope alone.

Many of us may think, “What if I’m wrong?”, when the question needs to be “What if I’m right?” and by making subjects such as alcohol misuse a normal topic of conversation we may break a cycle of secrecy that is leaving many children in turmoil. Moreover, we may also encourage other adults to be more vigilant about the welfare of children and young people and speak out.

If you are concerned about a parent or child living with alcohol misuse, please contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice on 0808 8005000 or email [email protected]


Andrew Skea, NSPCC Assistant Director for the East of England

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