Original article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 1 March 2015 Authors: Clare Kermond and Timna Jacks
Parents who think their drinking doesn’t have an impact on their children are probably fooling themselves. According to experts, every family, regardless of social class, should take a long, hard look at their drinking habits.
A shocking new report released this week has widened concern over alcohol consumption, with many warning it’s not just binge drinking or big nights out that can have an impact on family life, but everything from dinner parties to after-work wind downs. The harm caused to children ranges from neglect and exposure to inappropriate behavior to accidental injury and domestic violence.
The Hidden Harm report by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research says 22 per cent of all Australian children have been affected in some way by the drinking of others.
Children most commonly witnessed verbal or physical conflict or inappropriate behaviour, but some were also verbally abused, left unsupervised or physically hurt as a result of others’ drinking. About half of all reported family violence incidents and child protection cases involved alcohol, the Melbourne University and Victorian Government-backed study found. The impact on children included fear, behavioural problems and shame.