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Letters / Struggling in silence

Last week was Children of Alcoholics Week which raises awareness of children affected by a parent’s drinking.

The annual campaign, led in the UK by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa), aims to shine a light on children struggling in silence with this issue.

Last year, the NSPCC Helpline took an average of six contacts a day across the UK from adults with concerns about a child linked to parental alcohol or substance misuse.

Over the same period, Childline counsellors delivered 338 counselling sessions to children with concerns on the issue. That’s why we are encouraging adults to speak out if they are concerned about a child who may be living with a parent who misuses alcohol so that children and families can be supported.

Signs that families may be experiencing problems due to alcohol misuse include:

  • Parents may be visually under the influence of alcohol
  • a change in the parent’s behaviour including struggling to control their emotions
  • a child becoming withdrawn or develops behavioural, emotional or mental health problems
  • children taking on responsibility for caring duties of parents or siblings
  • children looking dirty or not changing their clothes.

If you are an adult concerned about the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email

Childline is available 24 hours a day for any child who has concerns, at or on 0800 1111 – the number won’t appear on the phone bill.

Carla Malseed
NSPCC Scotland Local Campaigns Manager


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