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1.3m children live with parents who misuse alcohol

Date:16 SEP 2009

Up to 1.3 million children in the UK are living with parents who misuse alcohol and the number is expected to increase in light of the economic recession, according to the social care charity Turning Point.

Children living with parents that are abusing alcohol are not getting the support they deserve because a lack of specialist services, according to Sue Winterburn, who manages Turning Point's Base Camp service and sees young people with parents or carers who are abusing alcohol.

Ms Winterburn says that while alcohol abuse is now endemic in society it remains a hidden issue within families and parents and children are reluctant to seek help.

"There is a stigma attached to alcohol misuse. When people do seek help they often find it's not available," she said.

"Even when parents with an alcohol problem are identified and questions asked about other family members, there is often no follow up," she added.

The charity says that children can feel isolated and find it hard to confide in others who don't have similar experiences.

Base Camp provides young people with an opportunity to meet other young people and share experiences, talk about emotions, boost their confidence and become empowered to make changes at home.

The study by Bath University found a number of positive changes in the children who have attended the project.

Young people have been actively involved in developing the service, including staff recruitment, group work content and project promotion. Young people can also self refer which is unique in children's treatment services.