Children at risk in new year - experts

PUBLISHED: 17:01 08 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 25 May 2010

CHILDREN could become victims of alcohol-related violence as the new year kicks off – the district's health experts are warning.

CHILDREN could become victims of alcohol-related violence as the new year kicks off - the district's health experts are warning.

NHS North Somerset bosses say that as the reality of the post-Christmas period sets in, youngsters are in danger of falling prey to domestic abuse.

A recent poll showed that 45 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women nationally list stress relief as a reason to drink, with the most pronounced pressure among 25 to 44 year-olds.

Jan Bond of NHS North Somerset's public health department says that while much sensible drinking advice focused on Christmas celebrations, New Year gloom is frequently a trigger point for excessive drinking.

She said: "The realisation that Christmas is over, coupled with the arrival of credit card bills, gloomy weather and stressful workloads can lead to heavy drinking, which is often the flashpoint for domestic violence.

"The effect on children can be profound, leading to emotional and behavioural difficulties."

A national survey of 3,000 mums from the website Netmums showed that nearly half of mothers drink at home on at least three or four nights a week.

Every year police in North Somerset receive about 2,000 reports of domestic abuse.

North Somerset domestic violence co-ordinator Louise Branch says that North Somerset Council works closely with the police, community leaders and groups, churches and voluntary groups in addition to NHS North Somerset to raise awareness about the issue of domestic abuse and to help increase the reporting of abuse.

Anyone in North Somerset who has been experiencing such abuse can visit or call the 24-hour national helpline on 0808 2000247.

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