Booze a factor in one in three hurt child cases

Little Freddie Neil, who died aged just four weeks old
Little Freddie Neil, who died aged just four weeks old

Parental drinking is linked to more than one in three cases of the death or serious injury of a child through neglect or abuse in England, a new study has shown.

READ MORE: Baby was found wedged between bed and wall

The report, commissioned by a cross-party group of MPs and peers, found alcohol misuse was implicated in 37 per cent of such cases between 2011 and 2014.

In 2016, Blackpool Council launched a campaign warning of the dangers of drinking alcohol while looking after children, following recommendations in a report into the death of four-week-old Freddie Neil in 2014.

The baby’s parents – who faced no charges – were unable to say how he came to be wedged between a bed and a wall at their resort home after spending the hours before his death drinking with friends, the report found.

Freddie’s dad, Matthew Neil later disputed several of the report’s findings, telling The Gazette he believed he moved his son from a Moses basket into his brother’s room while in an epilepsy-triggered fugue state, which he said saw him black out and ‘wake up’ elsewhere suffering from amnesia.

MP Liam Byrne said that parents who misuse alcohol can cause ‘horrific’ problems for their children.

Some 92 per cent of 53 councils that provided information to the new study are cutting their budgets for alcohol and drug treatment services. Cuts differ in size from £9.6m, or 58.1 per cent, in Lancashire, to £87,000, 1.1 per cent, in Wolverhampton.

The All-Party Group for Children of Alcoholics report called for better funding to help youngsters affected by parents who drink.