A helpline for children has revealed that it gets more than a 100 calls each week from worried and scared children talking about their parents' drinking or drugs problem.
ChildLine, a free 24-hour helpline created by National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), said that it had received more than 5,700 calls last year with a majority of the calls asking for advice in dealing with alcohol and drug use while physical and sexual abuse also being a common theme.
The helpline revealed that one of the callers, a 10-year old girl, admitted that her mother often left her alone and hit her when she tried to get her mother sleep on the bed after a drinking spree.
While NSPCC said that children were struggling hard to cope with their family problems, a majority of the callers were asking for advice on how to help their parents leave their drinking habits.
"The fallout from parental drug and alcohol abuse is a ticking timebomb in many children's lives. It's vital these children are helped before lasting damage occurs", the head of ChildLine, Sue Minto said.