A Manifesto for Change: The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Children of Alcoholics
One in five children in the UK lives with a parent who drinks too much – that’s over 2.5 million children. They are Britain’s innocent victims of drink.
Hard-drinking parents hurt their children for life. Compared to other children, children of alcoholics are:
• twice as likely to experience difficulties at school;
• three times more likely to consider suicide; and
• five times more likely to develop eating disorders.
Worst of all, children of alcoholics are also four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves – there is a cycle of alcoholism cascading down the generations. We have to break the cycle of this terrible disease – and that starts by breaking the silence around Britain’s biggest secret scandal.
The APPG’s research confirms a shocking picture of support for children of alcoholics:
1. None of the 138 respondent Local Authorities have a specific strategy for support for children of alcoholics.
2. Almost no Local Authority is increasing its drug and substance abuse treatment budgets, despite the increases in alcohol-related hospital admissions
Of the 49 Local Authorities providing data on future treatment budgets, 70% (34 Local Authorities) are experiencing rising alcohol-related hospital admissions.
• Yet only 9% of these Local Authorities are increasing treatment budgets (three Local Authorities in total).
• Over a third are actually cutting treatment budgets (12 Local Authorities).
3. The number of people accessing alcohol treatment varies widely, from 0.4% of a Local Authority’s estimated number of hazardous drinkers to 11%.
4. There is huge variation in average drug and substance abuse treatment budgets for hazardous drinkers – from £6.61 a head on the Isle of Wight to £419.04 in Sefton.
5. There is very little uniformity in the data provided by different authorities.
Although a number of national measurement systems for alcohol misuse are available, these are not used by all Local Authorities.
The hidden stigma attached to children of alcoholics typically means that they suffer in silence. This needs to change.