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Charity says 17,000 young people in Norfolk and Suffolk are affected by parent alcohol abuse

PUBLISHED: 08:47 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:47 10 November 2017

Close-up photo of a glass of whisky. Picture: Getty Images/rez-art

Close-up photo of a glass of whisky. Picture: Getty Images/rez-art

rez-art

Parent alcohol abuse is damaging the lives of more than 17,000 teenagers in Norfolk and Suffolk, according to research from a children’s charity.

The Children’s Society estimates that 8,900 young people in Norfolk and 8,200 in Suffolk are being affected by the issue.

Across the east of England they believe 68,000 children aged from 10 to 17 are being affected, and they say three in five of those also have a parent suffering from depression or anxiety.

Two in five have lived with domestic violence and more than one in four - 29pc - have been homeless in the last five years, their survey of 3,000 families found.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children’s Society, said: “Millions of teenagers in the UK are suffering in silence with problems that would floor an adult.

“The hundreds of thousands of children whose parent has a drinking problem are sadly just the tip of the iceberg of children in desperate need of support. 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.”

He said specialist services for families hoping to combat problems was becoming more difficult to find.

“Without support at an early stage as problems emerge, these families can quickly reach crisis point and the risks for the children involved grow,” he said.

The regional figures, created using national data and population statistics, suggest that most children are being affected by parents’ alcohol abuse in south and west Norfolk.

Speaking to the charity, one teenage girl, whose father abuses alcohol, said: “After living with my dad for about six months, I started really, really lashing out. I was getting really angry.

“And all the built up anger had just sort of exploded. And I started doing horrible things… I turned into somebody else for a while. I can’t say I blamed my dad for it, but he’s the reason behind it.”

The Children’s Society has called on the government to address the £2bn funding gap for local authority children’s services.

• Do you have a story we should be writing about? Let us know by emailing lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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