Calls to ChildLine from children who talked about parental drug and alcohol misuse represents four per cent of all (156,729) children counselled, the NSPCC has revealed.
Head of ChildLine Sue Minto said: “The fallout from parental drug and alcohol abuse is a ticking time bomb in many children’s lives. It’s vital these children are helped before lasting damage occurs. The ChildLine service has given a voice to these hidden children, many of whom feel they have a shameful secret to hide. Many have never told anyone before calling us.
“Children living with parental alcohol and drug problems are at more risk of harm and we need to find ways of helping them sooner. But we must also remember they can be fiercely protective of their parents. One young girl’s first comment to the ChildLine counsellor was, ‘I don’t want anything to happen to my mother’.”
One 12-year-old boy told a ChildLine counsellor: “My dad is beating me and my younger brother; dad injects something into his arm and shouts at me and beats me. My brother and I have bruises. My teachers see this and when they ask I tell them I had a fall.”