EPISODE 12 – THE ALCOHOL ISSUES PODCAST
Episode 12 of the Alcohol Issues Podcast: Movendi International’s weekly in-depth conversation about latest alcohol issues.
Special edition – CoA Week 2021
With host Maik Dünnbier Sheila discusses Alcohol Action Ireland’s work to raise awareness and improve the conditions of children growing up in families with alcohol problems. They are running the much needed initiative Silent Voices that works to end the silence around the impact of family alcohol problems on children.
Sheila shares deep insights into the extent of the problem in Ireland and we talk about what life is like for vulnerable children. I learn more about the Silent Voices initiative, how it works and what they’ve been doing in the last two years since it was started by three founding voices.
While the situation of children from families with alcohol problems is dire and yet there remains silence around the topic, there is a set of big and small solutions. Sheila talks with me about those and shares her vision of how the rights of vulnerable children can be much better protected through concrete alcohol policy and other interventions.
Resources for the conversation with Sheila
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More about the Silent Voices initiatives
Alcohol Action Ireland which is the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has a specific initiative, Silent Voices, which aims to raise awareness of issues arising for children who have grown up with alcohol problems in their homes. In Ireland it is estimated that there are 200,000 children living in alcohol impacted homes and a further 400,000 adults who have experienced this significant trauma.
The Founding Voices of the initiative, Carol Fawsitt, Marion Rackard and Barbara Whelan are three individuals who all grew up with this experience and who contribute to the work as part of Silent Voices’ Advisory Group.
Since the launch of Silent Voices in January 2019, the initiative has:
- Established a platform, Shared Voices, where adult children can share their experiences anonymously. Recently two of these stories have been animated which gave an illustration of some of the trauma experienced.
- Carried out research with colleagues in University College Cork around the experiences of ACOAs as indicated in the Shared Voices and with other interviewees.
- Expanded this research work into a detailed paper around education issues.
- Met with senior government ministers and policy makers. Held workshops and meetings with a range of interested organisations and individuals.
- From this Silent Voices developed their manifesto of strategic actions needed to address the issues in this area.
- The Founding Voice, Barbara Whelan and a professional therapist gave a public lecture on Compassion Focussed Therapy as part of their Pathways to Recovery work.
- Provided input to professional development courses with teacher’s organisations around Adverse Childhood Experiences attended by over 500.
- Established linkages with professional therapist organisations and with them held a training event on issues around addiction and impact on families attended by over 800.
- Made detailed submissions to government consultations on issues including Youth Justice and the Review of the Child Care Act.
- Advocated for the introduction of better data sharing between police and schools so as to provide immediate support for children who have experienced domestic violence.
- Garnered significant media coverage of this issues with over 100 items in national and regional media as well as our dedicated Silent Voices social media handle.
- Silent Voices have launched a podcast featuring the founders of the initiative.