Silent Voices aims to provide a platform for those who have lived with the trauma of parental alcohol misuse; give voice to their experience, so that others too can know that they are not alone.
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‘Silent Voices’ has been fostered by three individuals who experienced parental alcohol misuse growing up. The emotional trauma of this experience is significant and, for many complex reasons, is a situation very few people feel able to speak about.
When we don’t speak out it remains hidden. Those in the situation may feel isolated, unable to seek help and wondering if this is an experience that is unique to them.
This isolation facilitates a lack of recognition of the impact of parental alcohol misuse and consequently, limits the supports available to children, both past and present, dealing with the emotional trauma.
‘Everyone in Ireland has an alcoholic in the family’ – the prevalence of alcohol misuse in Ireland means this common assertion is very real to many.
The acceptance of this issue reflects the reality of the high levels of harmful drinking in Ireland and the tolerance of this behaviour as harmless (other than to the individual). This is not the experience of those who have lived with or grown up with alcohol misuse in the family.
Silent Voices aims to break the peculiarly Irish taboo on discussing the impact of harmful drinking on children. It aims to ensure the right supports are available to children today coping with parental alcohol misuse – and those adults dealing with the impact of a childhood trauma in later life.
Silent Voices aims to support and not to judge. It will work to increase recognition of this issue and work to reduce its incidence through greater advocacy, better education, and the enhancement of existing services to meet the needs of those who are living or have lived with parental alcohol misuse.
Alcohol Action Ireland was established in 2003 and is the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm.