Protecting Children and Young People from Alcohol-Related Harm: At Home, in the Community and through the Justice System

Every child in Scotland has the right to grow up without being affected by alcohol harms – but how can this ambition be achieved?

The context

Scotland’s refreshed Alcohol Strategy and Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategy are expected to be published soon. These documents will help to build a framework for how Scotland can continue its strategic approach to helping children and young people affected by alcohol misuse. 

Recent research shows that although the number of young people who have tried alcohol is falling, it remains disproportionately high amongst those who experience inequalities. Drinking in the home also continues to be a concern, with up to 51,000 children estimated to live with a problematic drinker and report that it makes them feel scared, confused, stressed or angry when their parents are drinking.

The event

Holyrood is delighted to be working with Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) on this event. We will discuss recent research on alcohol misuse and young people and share practice from across Scotland that is helping children and young people grow up without being harmed by alcohol.

Key issues to be addressed

  • How taking a population approach and changing health behaviours can help tackle problem drinking
  • Building resilience in young people
  • What can we do to help children and young people affected by other people's drinking in the home?
  • Best practice in directing young people to support when they have committed a crime under the influence of alcohol


09:15 Registration and Refreshments

09:55 Opening Remarks from the Chair

Dr Eric Carlin, Director, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

Session 1: Taking a Population-Based Approach

10:00 An update on national developments

Dr Eric Carlin, Director, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

10:10 Reducing Exposure of Young People to Alcohol 

  • The ways that children and young people are exposed to alcohol and alcohol marketing
  • Evidence on the association that exposure to alcohol marketing has on young peoples’ alcohol-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour
  • Options and challenges for reducing young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing

Dr Nathan Critchlow, Researcher, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling

10:30 Questions and discussions 

10:40 Young People’s Changing Relationship With Alcohol

  • A facilitated discussion with a group of young people about what they think about their own and other young people’s drinking.

Madeleine Brown MSYP for GirlGuiding Scotland, Convener of the Culture and Media Committee, Scottish Youth Parliament

Peter Rigg MSYP for Dunfermline & Deputy Convener of the Justice Committee, Scottish Youth Parliament

Robert McCall MSYP for Perthshire North, Scottish Youth Parliament

11:05 Refreshments and Networking

Session 2: Working Towards the Aspiration of an Alcohol-Free Childhood in Our Homes

Every child has the right to a childhood free of alcohol. This includes living free from the emotional and physical impact of other people’s drinking. This session will explore how we can tackle home drinking and support those affected by parental alcohol misuse.

11:20 Tackling Home Drinking: Why It Matters

Monica Lennon MSP, Scottish Parliament

11:40 Drinking in the Home - Wider Family Impact and Responses

Justina Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs

12:00 The Latest Research and Learning Resources for Supporting Families Affected by Home Drinking

Jane Wilson, Learning & Business Development Lead, Alcohol Focus Scotland

12:20 Questions and Discussion

12:35 Lunch

Session 3: Youth Drinking and Community Justice
By directing young people to appropriate support where they have committed a crime under the influence of alcohol we can help young people to make positive choices in their future. This final session will consider the opportunities available through our justice system to address youth drinking.

13:15 Tackling youth drinking and alcohol related reoffending using a peer approach 

  • Brief description of Breaking Out Peer Alcohol Project
  • Peer based alcohol interventions
  • Support in the community

Gez Lawson, Development Manager (Scotland), Mentor UK

Gez will be joined by Jamie who will share his experiences with alcohol and the justice system.

13:35 The Edinburgh Alcohol Problem Court

  • Presently a pilot court for adult male chronic alcoholics living in Edinburgh
  • Could this be extended to younger people committing crimes due to binge drinking?
  • Link to Drug Court, other agencies and support networks

Sheriff Frank Crowe, Sheriff, Edinburgh Sheriff Court and Alcohol Problem Court 

13:55 Questions and Discussion

14:10 Interactive Session: Recommendations for Policymakers

In the final part of the day delegates will have the opportunity to reflect on the information and discussions shared throughout the event and agree recommendations for SHAAP to take forward to inform policymakers.

14:55 Closing Remarks from the Chair

15:00 Close of Event

*Agenda subject to change


Scottish Arbitration Centre, 125 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4AD | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

30 January 2018



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