Someone gets in touch with the NSPCC every hour over adults using drugs in front of children
The charity made more than 1,300 referrals to the police and children's services in Scotland
More than 1,400 calls have been made to a children’s charity helpline over the last three years by people in Scotland concerned about adults abusing drugs and alcohol around children.
Many of the contacts were so serious that the NSPCC had to make more than 1,300 referrals to external agencies such as the police and children’s services.
Last year the charity was contacted 494 times by people from Scotland. In 2014/15 it received 518 and in 2013/14 it received 408.
One caller reported concerns of children living in a home where there are parties every weekend and a strong smell of drugs lingering in the air. The caller added the mother had a drinking problem and that she was scared to approach her.
Another caller said he was worried about a father’s heavy drinking after he lost his partner. The caller said he had noticed the children living there were no longer going to school and furniture in the house had been smashed up.
Figures have been released to mark the start of Children of Alcoholics Week, which aims to raise awareness of the problems and suffering associated with parental alcohol problems.
The charity says excessive alcohol consumption or use of drugs inevitably make it difficult for parents to deal with family life and causes a significant risk to children and often leads to neglect and abuse.
Across the UK it received 8,500 contacted the NSPCC helpline last year – the equivalent to almost one per hour – to describe potential substance misuse among adults when children and young people were in their care or nearby.
Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland, said: “Drugs and alcohol can have hugely damaging effects around children and it’s clearly troubling to see a rise over time in reports of this problem to our helpline.
“Substance misuse all too often leads to the neglect or abuse of a child and it’s absolutely crucial that we do all we can to stop that.
“The NSPCC provides services directly to families suffering from these problems to help them overcome them and provide their children with a safe and secure upbringing.
“But everyone has a duty to look out for potential signs of distress and the NSPCC’s helpline is there to provide help and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”