Welcome to the ENCARE UK site!

Events in UK

Scottish Network of Alcohol Practitioners for the Young (SNAPY) launch 
Tuesday 3 March 2009, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

It is estimated that at least 65,000 children in Scotland are living with the effects of parental alcohol misuse. Two reports, the Scottish Executive's Hidden Harm - The Next Steps and Have We Got Our Priorities Right?, a Think Tank report published by the Aberlour Childcare Trust, identified that improved, earlier identification, better multi/inter-agency working and better informed practitioners will be key to improving these children's lives.

This conference will further examine these issues, giving good practice examples from within Scotland as well as looking at approaches taken elsewhere to see if they can be successfully applied here to help address children affected by both their own and familial alcohol misuse. The conference will focus on children's resilience and how we can support them for a better future.

» Please read more on the conference from here 

Parental Alcohol Misuse and Parental Domestic Abuse

I’m doing everything I can to help her get more courageous. We could change it around to take out all the terrible memories for her. We’ve got all our friends there to help. We could get a guard dog. That’s what I’d like to do – help her be stronger….I want to make an effort to help her…..I want to help out with the washing-up. (8yr old boy in Mullender et al., 2002 p117)

Parental alcohol misuse and parental domestic abuse are two of the most common problems facing today’s children, yet are often the most hidden from the eyes of society. The risks to children, in the short-term and the long-term, are numerous, multi-faceted and complex. Rarely, however, do these problems occur on their own; often other problems are also present and, furthermore, co-existing alcohol misuse and abuse is of growing concern. This can only make things worse for children as they become worried, upset, guilty, ashamed and afraid of living day to day in such unpredictable, chaotic and unsafe environments with no light at the end of tunnel.

The work that has been done to talk directly to children about what it is like is rare, and so opens a rare window of opportunity for us to recognise the nature and extent of the problems faced by these children and their families. One could be forgiven for thinking that this research has in fact been undertaken with adults, so articulate, perceptive, insightful and mature are so many of the quotes to come from the qualitative work that has been done. On the flipside one is often equally struck by the equally youthful voices which shine through the work.

It has been incredibly hard to develop and implement the most appropriate response to meet the needs of these children, so complex are the organisations and personnel that need to come together. Whilst there is still much to be done, for the UK, the increasing recognition of these two problems and the children affected by them in national and local policy, is to be welcomed. It is within this climate of change, on both a European and a UK wide level, that ENCARE can find its niche, by offering an important resource to professionals to aid them in supporting children living with parental alcohol misuse and/or parental domestic abuse.

Background to ENCARE 

The United Kingdom has been a member of ENCARE since its foundation in 1998. The main ENCARE partner organisation in the UK has been the Mental Health Research and Development Unit in Bath (Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and the University of Bath). The MHRDU has been heavily involved with all 5 ENCARE projects to date, but has taken a specific lead with the textual content of the ENCARE website. Other central UK partners in ENCARE projects have been Brunel University and the University of Nottingham.

» Find further details about the UK partners

» Read more about ENCARE and the purpose of this website


This area of the ENCARE website builds on the more general information contained in the main website, by providing detail that is more specific to the UK. Given the degree of overlap with the detail of the main ENCARE website you may want to read some of those pages in parallel with the ones included within this UK ‘min-site’. Thus:

  • The site is for people working at all levels with children affected by parental problems (particularly parental alcohol misuse and/or parental domestic abuse).
  • It provides information relevant to a range of responses, depending on the nature and extent of your content with children. Some of the things that you could do are very straightforward and based on common sense, and are the types of things that you would do to try to support a child living with any kind of problem, whilst other things are more specialised.
  • Most of the information relates to England but there is reference to, and detail about, work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is given where possible. Most of the time, the information presented from one area of the UK is relevant and transferable to the others.
  • The majority of the literature on which this website is based is from the UK. To access literature from elsewhere (particularly from the USA) would have made developing this website (and indeed the over ENCARE website of which this is a part) even more of a mammoth undertaking.
  • This website does not aim to provide information on alcohol use and misuse and its associated problems, nor on domestic abuse itself.
  • This website is NOT aimed at children (or their families) who are living with parental alcohol misuse, parental domestic abuse (or both issues together). However, you may find some of the information of interest to you. If you are accessing this site because you are a child or young person (or other family member) affected by either or both problems, then please follow the link below and you will be directed to a page which will give details of some organisations who you could contact for further information and support.  

See contact details for further information and support


Note on terminology and definition

There is a range of terms used to define the issues that this website is trying to respond to, for example: alcohol misuse, problem drinking, alcoholism, alcohol-dependence syndrome, hazardous drinking, domestic violence, domestic abuse, intimate partner violence etc.

Similarly, there is a range of theories that have been developed to try and understand the problems. ENCARE member countries use different terms to describe the problems; they therefore have different ways of thinking about and responding to them.

We have decided, therefore, not to adopt or endorse any one term or theoretical position. However, in order to be consistent, the general terms that will be used throughout this website are parental alcohol misuse and parental domestic abuse [unless reference to a particular study or use of verbatim quotes dictates use of the language they used]. Where appropriate, we will suggest some further reading or resources that debate these issues and theories further.

Section Index

The funding to develop the ENCARE UK website came from the AERC (Alcohol Education and Research Council).