Home > Hidden Harm strategic statement: seeing through hidden harm to brighter futures.

Health Service Executive, Tusla Child and Family Agency. (2019) Hidden Harm strategic statement: seeing through hidden harm to brighter futures. Dublin: HSE and Tusla.

PDF (Hidden Harm strategic statement)

The experience of children living with, and affected by, parental problem alcohol and other drug use has become widely known as Hidden Harm. The term Hidden Harm encapsulates the two key features of that experience: those children are often not known to services; and that they suffer harm in a number of ways as a result of compromised parenting which can impede the child’s social, physical and emotional development. The key to the success of Hidden Harm work will be both the willingness and capacity of all services to work in a collaborative fashion. Problematic use of alcohol and other drugs is a complex issue and continues to be one of the most significant health and social challenges facing our society. Approximately a third of the people of Ireland are engaged in harmful drinking and many are engaged in illicit drug use (DoH Prevalence). This affects families and communities and can have serious implications for outcomes for children from conception right throughout their life span. The welfare and safeguarding of children and young people is a priority. This statement recognises that effective interventions for parental problem alcohol and other drug use must include a whole family approach at a social, cultural, community and individual level. 

The Statement is written in response to the best available evidence and guidance on creating the structures, processes and continuum of care in responding to Hidden Harm, and is the first step in the implementation of actions to reduce the impact of Hidden Harm. It takes account of the views of frontline workers, managers and commissioners in Tusla, the HSE and key individuals from other statutory, voluntary and community organisations. Cultural and procedural change will need to take place if the children and families affected by problem alcohol and other drug use are to look forward to better outcomes. However it is clear from the responses from the stakeholder consultation on this document that there is a very strong will to assist in the implementation of this Statement. We recognise the good work already in train, and look forward to continued work together to improve outcomes for children and families

Repository Staff Only: item control page