UP to 200,000 Irish children are living in homes impacted by alcohol use, according to a new report from UCC and Alcohol Action Ireland.
The report recommends that educators, including teachers and special needs assistants, be given training in relation to trauma-informed approaches and adverse childhood experiences, to help children from such backgrounds.
UCC’s School of Applied Psychology undertook the study with Alcohol Action Ireland.
A spokeswoman for AAI said: “Although this research took place before Covid-19, Alcohol Action Ireland believes that because of the pandemic, the problem of young people experiencing issues in the home due to alcohol, as outlined in this paper, has very likely increased significantly over the past number of months.
“We base this assumption on the fact that data shows that despite the fact that all licenced premises were closed during lockdown, alcohol sales experienced only a modest reduction.”
She added: “This indicates that Ireland’s alcohol users substituted most of their drinking from regulated licensed premises to consumption in the home. For young people, exposure to this increase in parental home drinking came along with school closures, summer activities being curtailed and lack of access to peer support.
“Now more than ever, children and young people need their schools not just to be a place of learning, but to be a place of refuge and support for other issues in their lives. Schools must become a place that recognises young people’s trauma and teachers and schools must be supported to nurture trauma-informed environments.
“At a time when more alcohol than ever before is pouring into Irish homes, children and young people need their schools.”