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Barnardos. Butler, Shane (2008) Families under the influence. Dublin: The National Children’s Resource Centre, Barnardos.

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Children are victims both in the case of parental problem drinking where children fail to develop due to family neglect and in the case of underage drinking where young people are innocent victims of the alcohol industry and the saturation advertising of alcohol directed at young people. Barnardos sees some of the grim realities of problem drinking and its impact on children and young people:

■ The effects of being brought up in a family where a high proportion of the family’s income is spent on alcohol leads to material deprivation. The children may suffer acute child poverty as a result and this may be manifest in terms of lack of a proper diet, lack of school books, clothes and toys.
■ One or both parents are often drunk in front of the child, their friends and neighbours.
■ A parent is unable to get up in the morning to get the child ready for school.
■ A child or young person is addicted to alcohol while still in their teens.
■ Children can be victims of conflict, marital breakdown and parental separation.
■ Children can be both witnesses and victims of alcohol-related domestic violence in the home.
■ Children can become engaged in inappropriate, ill-informed and possibly involuntary sexual activity.
■ Children can become either victims or perpetrators of violent assaults.

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