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Alcohol and the family – the reality

A new report warns of the stark reality of life for families where drinking has reached hazardous levels and is calling for a series of wide ranging reforms to tackle the problem. The report, by charity 4Children, demands better support and information for families.

The report, 'Over the Limit: The Truth about Families and Alcohol', warns that too many parents remain oblivious to the negative effects that alcohol can have on their parenting. An alarming 19% believe alcohol has a positive effect on their parenting ability and 62% of parents say that their drinking behaviour has no impact on their family at all. Over the Limit says it does.

According to the report, 22% of children live with a parent who drinks hazardously, while 6% (around 700,000 across the country) live with a dependent drinker. Sixty-two percent of children who were subject to care proceedings were from families with parental alcohol misuse, while more than a third of all domestic violence cases involve alcohol.

“It is no use waiting for alcohol and drugs to take their grip on families and only intervene when a child protection case is called. We need to see a greater focus on families within wider strategies around addiction,” said Anne Longfield OBE, 4Children Chief Executive.

The charity is calling for a major public information campaign, funded by the alcohol industry, to provide better information and more help to families via health visitors and midwives through schools and children’s centres. It also asks the UK alcohol industry, estimated to be worth £6 billion annually, to invest 1% of its value into help for families to prevent alcohol dependency and family crises.


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