THE number of children who called ChildLine because their parents were drinking too much or taking drugs more than doubled last year.
Some 5,300 counselling sessions were carried out compared to 2,509 the previous year. Most were aged between 12 and 15-years-old although one in 10 were of primary school age.
In the West Midlands there were 831 counselling sessions via telephone, online chat and email who were concerned about parents’ drug and alcohol abuse.
Many told ChildLine they lived in fear of their parents’ anger, with one in six saying they had been physically hurt by their mum or dad when they were under the influence.
Some reported living in dirty and even dangerous surroundings, lacking essentials because money was frittered on alcohol or drugs with almost 20 per cent admitting it had led to them feeling depressed, self-harming or having suicidal thoughts.
John Anderton, service supervisor for the West Midlands, said: “These shocking statistics are sadly only one small piece of the jigsaw.
“Some children tell us their parents are under stress and it may be that they are using drink and drugs to blot out worries about jobs, money or housing issues.”