LOOK at the image of the young girl slumped on the pavement with a bottle of alcohol in her hand - as a parent think about what could happen next?
The ’Where is Your Child Tonight?’ campaign is encouraging all parents to talk to their children to empower them to make the right choices about alcohol and to communicate the many risks and potential consequences of drinking, taking drugs and getting involved in anti-social behaviour.
Many people may not know that one in ten young people who have drunk alcohol have ended up in trouble with the police, that alcohol can make your child more likely to be the victim of a violent assault or other crimes and it has been found that the younger people are when they drink, the more likely they are to be a victim of violence, vulnerable to injuries from accidents, use other drugs and have unwanted or unsafe sexual activity.
In Northern Ireland over half of young people aged between 11 and 16 say they have had an alcoholic drink at some point in their lives. This campaign is urging parents to communicate with their children, find out where they really are when they hang out, what they are doing and who they are with. Tips for ensuring your child is safe and sound include; staying in contact via mobile and checking with other parents, meeting their friends, giving them a curfew and ensuring transport has been arranged for them to get home safely.
To help parents speak to their children about alcohol, Craigavon Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) have copies of the booklet, ‘You, Your Child & Alcohol’, which provides useful information and tips on how to approach the subject with their children. The booklet was produced in partnership with the PSNI, DOJ Community Safety Unit, Northern Ireland Policing Board, Public Health Agency (PHA) and Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety to help tackle the issue of under-age drinking.
Councillor Alan Carson, Chair of the PCSP said: “The ‘You, Your Child & Alcohol’ booklet is a vital resource in helping you as a parent minimise the risks alcohol could have in your child’s life. It also makes parents think about how their drinking can influence their children and how to agree boundaries regarding alcohol.”
Chief Inspector Anthony McNally, PSNI Area Commander said: “This is another important initiative that the PSNI and your local PCSP are working in partnership to make Craigavon safer. Through our work on “You, your child and alcohol, we are aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol - particularly concerning our young people. Alcohol is an aggravating factor in as much as 60% of all crime, so our aim is to ensure we work together with our communities to ensure our young people do not become perpetrators or victims of crime”.
If you would like a copy of the booklet, please contact Lynette Cooke on 3831 2529.