Summer drive to stop alcohol blighting children's lives
Monday 25 June 2012
Children’s lives are being ruined by alcohol-fuelled violence, says charity CHILDREN 1ST, as new research suggests almost a quarter of people living in Scotland (23 per cent) have seen someone who’s been drinking being aggressive or violent towards a child.
Launching the summer campaign today the charity revealed that more than half of people surveyed (52 per cent) have witnessed a person drunk in charge of a child. Alarmingly more than one in four people (27 per cent) did nothing to help the child because they weren’t sure what to do or felt it was none of their business.
With an estimated 80,000 children in Scotland affected by parental alcohol misuse1, the charity is urging everybody to take responsibility to protect children. Anyone concerned can call the free and confidential helpline ParentLine Scotland on 08000 28 22 33.
The charity’s ‘Wish I Wasn’t Here’ campaign, backed by the police Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), features a postcard from Callum, who remembers his holidays for all the wrong reasons.
He writes: “We’re having a BBQ at the beach, but I’m really scard*. Mum’s got wine! What if she hits me like last time and we get taken away again? I’ve got butterflys in my tummy instead of burgers. I wish I wasn’t here!”
Every day, CHILDREN 1ST supports children to recover from the trauma of abuse and violence caused by parental alcohol misuse. The impacts include low self-esteem, anxiety, poor health and emotional well-being, with children often subject to physical and emotional abuse or witness to violence between their parents.
Launching the campaign, Alison Todd, Deputy Chief Executive at CHILDREN 1ST, said: “Our message today is that it is everybody’s responsibility to protect children from violence fuelled by alcohol misuse, particularly as families prepare for the summer holidays.
“There are too many situations involving alcohol which result in a child witnessing violence or bearing the brunt of it themselves. Our work with children to help them recover from the trauma caused by abuse and violence has revealed that many have distinct memories from their summer holidays, but often for the wrong reasons.
“Days that should be filled with happiness and laughter are often ruined by aggression, violence and anger due to alcohol and children can feel the effects of this for many years. As a result, too many children in Scotland are losing out on their childhoods.
“If you’re concerned that a child is living with the fear of abuse and violence caused by a parent drinking too much, call ParentLine Scotland. Allow a child to enjoy their holidays.”
Chief Inspector Graham Goulden of the VRU, said: “We’ve seen a real shift from violence taking place in public spaces to private spaces and this is resulting in more children and young people either witnessing or experiencing violence in the home. Too many children are the victims of Scotland’s drink problem.
“At the VRU we are determined to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence. Drunkenness is nothing to be proud of, not when it is harming children, ruining their summer holidays and damaging their life chances. That’s why we are working with CHILDREN 1ST in this summer campaign to promote everybody’s responsibility to protect children.”
If you’re concerned about a child suffering abuse call ParentLine Scotland on 08000 28 22 33 or email email@example.com.
Find out more about Callum’s story.
Media enquiries should be directed to Sally Hall, Press Officer, CHILDREN 1ST on 0131 446 2330 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from One Poll. Total sample size was 1000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31 May and 13 June 2012. The figures provide a nationally representative sample of all adults in Scotland.
 As estimated by Scottish Government in PQ S3W-4416, 1st Oct 2007
*The spelling mistakes made in the postcard text have been left in deliberately.
Picture by Rob McDougall.
Last updated: Thursday 9 August 2012