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Silent Voiices

Supporting children and young people affected by parental alcohol misuse

The misuse of alcohol by parents negatively affects the lives and harms the wellbeing of more children than does the misuse of illegal drugs. Yet too often, parental alcohol misuse is not taken as seriously, in spite of alcohol being addictive, easier to obtain, and legal. The effects of parents’ alcohol misuse on children may be hidden for years, whilst children try both to cope with the impact on them, and manage the consequences for their families.

We are publishing this review to draw attention to what children say about the problem. It does not concern only child protection professionals, though alcohol abuse can put children's safety at sustained, serious risk. The problem affects large numbers of children who never come to the notice of children's social care. They should not need to do so if there are services to support them and their families at an earlier stage. There are powerful messages from children in this report which must be heard, and acted on. We are grateful to the children and young people who shared their experiences with us.