The Guardian newspaper recently revealed the outcome of a report that ran studies on abused and neglected children, the main contributing factors and how alcohol misuse and alcoholism by parents plays a part.
The study, commissioned by a cross-bench group of MPs and peers, found that 1 in 3 children that died from severe abuse, injuries or child neglect, had at least one parent with an alcohol misuse problem or alcohol dependence.
The future for children of parents who misuse alcohol is only set to get bleaker; unless the government introduce some dramatic changes to alcohol and drug treatment budgets, more children will die or be gravely affected as a result. Substantial cuts have been made to alcohol and drug treatment programmes for adults in all areas of the UK; raising great and valid concerns of how this will impact children of alcoholic parents.
Alcohol dependence and addiction do not just affect the sufferer. It affects the sufferer’s children, their parents, siblings, friends, partner, employer and just about everyone that comes into contact with them on a regular basis.
It is well recognised in the counselling and trauma treatment field that alcoholism in the family has a lasting impact on children. This can result in children growing up and becoming alcoholic themselves, being attracted to an alcoholic to take care of and not being able to form healthy relationships with others.
Cutting funding to the alcohol and drug treatment sector is horrendously short-sighted as the impact on society is tremendous as a whole. More innocent children will suffer at the hands of alcoholic parents, who will not be provided with the opportunity to receive professional alcohol treatment or alcohol rehab. Indeed, recent research has shown that for every pound put into treatment, there is a 3-fold return in value to society of £3.
We Treat Adult Children of Alcoholics
Many individuals that become alcoholic have alcoholic parents or have been raised in an environment that lacks nurture or is harmful. This does not apply to everyone that becomes alcoholic; some alcoholics have very happy childhoods. However, there is definitely an increased chance of developing alcoholism if you have an alcoholic parent or alcoholism in the family.
If you are struggling with an alcohol problem and feel that you need help, please do call PCP for private affordable alcohol rehab. We regularly treat children of alcoholics who have themselves gone on to develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. The cycle can be stopped.
Alternatively, Alcoholics Anonymous offers free support in the community as do SMART Recovery.
Children are Suffering as a Result of Alcohol Abuse
Liam Byrne, Labour MP and Chairman of the All-Party Group for Children of Alcoholics responded to the report’s findings:
“Parental alcohol misuse scars kids for life and can lead many into a life of drinking too much themselves. Millions of parents drink too much and their misuse of alcohol causes horrific problems for their children.”
Key findings of the study revealed:
- Alcohol misuse was implicated in 37% of cases of a child’s death or serious injury after abuse or neglect between 2011 and 2014.
- More than half of local councils did not have a strategy to help children of alcoholics.
- Referrals to alcohol treatment services were falling in more than 50% of local authorities, according to information released under freedom of information laws
- 92% of the 53 councils that responded were cutting budgets for alcohol and drug treatment services.
- Budget Cuts to local alcohol and drug treatment services varied from 87,000 pounds in Wolverhampton to 9.6million pounds (58%) in Lancashire.
- The budget cut to local drug and alcohol services averages around 200,000 pounds a year
- 15% of children have their bedtime routine disrupted through their parents’ alcohol drinking
- 18% of children were embarrassed at seeing their parent or parents drunk
Help For Children of Alcoholics
If you are a child of an alcoholic parent, the chances are you will have experienced and felt things during childhood that most children are not exposed to.
You may feel like you are the only one and that there is no one you can talk to. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or worried that by talking about it your parent will get into trouble.
PCP feel that is very important that you are able to share what is going on for you with others that understand and can help to support you. You are not alone, there are many children that have alcoholic parents who are deeply unhappy and suffering.
- National Association of Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) can help.
Visit their website: http://www.nacoa.org.uk/
Or, call their free helpline on 0800 358 3456
- Adult Children of Alcoholics can also access help and support:
Helpline: 07071 781 899
If you have suffered abuse as a child whilst being raised by an alcoholic parent, you can access information, support and help through the NAPAC:
- NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)
Support Line: 0800 085 3330
Help a Child Being Neglected By An Alcoholic Parent
If you suspect that a child you know is being abused or neglected by an alcoholic parent, please do not turn a blind eye. We all have a responsibility to help vulnerable children who are unable to help themselves.
Please call the police if you have urgent concerns for a child and witness or hear violence; in a non-emergency, please report concerns or suspicions to the NSPCC website.