A new report from the Aberlour Child Care Trust and the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams has recommended that the children of parents who abuse alcohol need the same services as those offered to children of drug abusers.
The authors of the report, “A Matter of Substance? Alcohol or Drugs: Does it make a difference to the child?”, said about 100,000 Scottish children were affected by parental alcohol abuse, and that number is sure to be reflected across the UK
Aberlour’s chief executive, Addie Stevenson, said: “Tolerant attitudes towards alcohol are having a significant and sometimes devastating effect on children.
“While living with problem parental alcohol use may appear less stigmatising than living with problem parental drug use, for our children and young people, ignoring the impact on them, on parenting and on family life is like sticking our heads in the sand.
“If we are to really help today’s and tomorrow’s children we must work together and face the challenges raised in this report.”
Campaigners have said that the report underlines the need for grandparents to have increased legal rights to intervene when there were problems within the immediate family.
“Because grandparents are irrelevant persons in their grandchildren’s lives, by law, abuse in the home will continue and get worse,” said Jimmy Deuchars of Glasgow-based self-help group Grandparents Apart.
Tom Wood, the chair of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, said the next step was to change policy and practice.