1,500 South Tyneside teenagers have parents with drink problems

1,500 youngters are living with a parent who has alcohol problems.
1,500 youngters are living with a parent who has alcohol problems.

Hundreds of teenagers in South Tyneside are living with parents who have drink problems, shock new figures have revealed.

The Children’s Society say parental alcohol abuse is damaging the lives of 1,500 youngsters in the borough - and they are among an estimated 27,000 teenagers in the North East.

According to the figures, three in five teenagers nationally live with the same parent suffering from depression or anxiety, two in five have lived with domestic violence and more than a quarter, 29%, have been homeless in the last five years.

The charity surveyed 3,000 families with children aged 10-17 found.

South Tyneside Council says there is “high quality” help services for children and families affected by alcoholism.

The charity say that pressures on teenagers from homes where alcohol or drugs are being misused can lead to them developing mental health problems, running away from home or being excluded from school.

Chief executive Matthew Reed said: “Millions of teenagers in the UK are suffering in silence with problems that would floor an adult.

“At a time when demand for council children’s services is rising, severe funding cuts from central government are leaving more and more to deal with these huge problems alone.

“Specialist services working with families to combat problem drinking, support for teenagers whose parent has mental ill health, or safe spaces for them to go when pressures at home mount, are becoming ever harder to find.”

The society is calling on the Government to “urgently address” the £2billion funding gap for local council children’s services.

A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: “We recognise the devastating effects that alcohol misuse can have on families and the negative impact this can have on our young people.

“We ensure children and their families have access to a range of high quality early help services to support them when problems first emerge and aim to prevent problems escalating.

“Where young people are at risk of immediate harm, we intervene to ensure they are protected.”

Colin Shevills, director of North East alcohol office Balance, said: “Children have the right to be safe from the drinking of others and these figures are worrying.

“However, it is not surprising that many adults are drinking too much when we live in a climate where alcohol is cheaper than ever before and is positioned by the industry as being essential if you are going to be popular and have fun. “The result is that the most vulnerable in our society are being put at risk – and that includes children.  

“If we are serious about protecting our children we need the Government to provide the information about the risks of drinking.”