Alcohol-Related ChildLine Calls On The Rise

The number of children calling ChildLine with concerns about their parents' behaviour due to alcohol and drug abuse has doubled in the past year, according to the NSPCC.

The charity's 24-hour helpline received 5,323 calls in 2013, more than 100 a week, from children worried about their parents' behaviour. The figure was up from 2,509 the previous year.

Most of the children who contacted the service were aged between 12- and 15 years-old, but around one in 10 callers was aged 11 or less years.

Most of the calls were from children who said they were afraid of being on the receiving end of their parents' temper, while one in six said they had fallen victim to physical violence by their parents while they were under the influence of drink or drugs.

Tim Rahilly, head of services for families affected by alcohol and drugs at the NSPCC, warned against stereotyping and said that children from all walks of life were affected. "The recent benefit cuts are hitting families in particular households," he said. "But the higher counseling rates could also be that more children are aware of ChildLine and that they have someone to turn to."

The charity estimates that nearly 250,000 children in the UK have parents with drug problems, while three in 10 live with at least one binge-drinking parent.


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