'Shocking' rise in report of drug and drink fuelled parents - The Rugby Observer
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'Shocking' rise in report of drug and drink fuelled parents

Rugby Editorial 21st May, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

THE number of children who called ChildLine because their parents were drinking too much or taking drugs more than doubled last year.

Some 5,300 counselling sessions were carried out compared to 2,509 the previous year. Most were aged between 12 and 15-years-old although one in 10 were of primary school age.

In the West Midlands there were 831 counselling sessions via telephone, online chat and email who were concerned about parents’ drug and alcohol abuse.

Many told ChildLine they lived in fear of their parents’ anger, with one in six saying they had been physically hurt by their mum or dad when they were under the influence.

Some reported living in dirty and even dangerous surroundings, lacking essentials because money was frittered on alcohol or drugs with almost 20 per cent admitting it had led to them feeling depressed, self-harming or having suicidal thoughts.

It is not known what has caused the rise; whether it is that more children are witnessing drunken behaviour and experiencing violence at home or they are more aware that help is available due to recent high profile cases such as that of murdered Coventry schoolboy Daniel Pelka.

John Anderton, service supervisor for the West Midlands, said: “These shocking statistics are sadly only one small piece of the jigsaw.

“Official estimates are that more than 250,000 children in the UK have parents with drug problems, and three in 10 children live with at least one binge-drinking parent.

“Some children tell us their parents are under stress and it may be that they are using drink and drugs to blot out worries about jobs, money or housing issues. “But whatever the reasons behind the rise, it’s vital that anyone who knows a parent with drink or drug problems takes action to get that family help so that their children are protected.”

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