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Home > Hidden harm and Covid-19: exploring the impacts and solutions.

Alcohol Action Ireland. (2021) Hidden harm and Covid-19: exploring the impacts and solutions. Dublin: Alcohol Action Ireland.

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This briefing sets out evidence collated during 2020 – internationally and in Ireland – around the very likely increase in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), specifically problem parental substance use, during the pandemic.

The paper recommends:

  • A whole-of-government approach to tackle childhood adversity arising from parental problem substance use with an identifiable senior official appointed with specific responsibility to advise, develop and plan appropriate policies and services. 
  • The current ‘Hidden Harm’ framework requires momentum and urgency particularly in information campaigns, training and raising awareness among all professionals. 
  • Drug and alcohol taskforces should be assigned dedicated funding to support trauma-informed services to support children and families affected by problem parental substance use. 
  • Schools should seek to strengthen collaboration with services working with children and families to support a child who might be at risk of hidden harm. The ‘Operation Encompass’ model, an early intervention that allows police to notify schools of a child‘s family situation involved in a domestic incident.

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