3.2 Parental substance use (alcohol)

Parental alcohol misuse is a key risk factor for child abuse and neglect. Misuse can compromise parents' ability to consistently provide a stable and safe environment for children, maintain household tasks and routines, and respond to their children's emotional needs. Financial difficulties can also arise due to substance misuse, compounding the issues faced by the family.

National guidelines for alcohol consumption provide recommendations to reduce the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, and to reduce the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from a single occasion. In the data presented below, for lifetime risk, 'risky' refers to those who had, on average, more than 2 standard drinks per day. For single occasion risk, 'risky' refers to those who consumed more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion.

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The figure shows the proportion of parents with children and young people aged 0–14 who drank alcohol at risky levels, 2010 to 2019. The proportion was 42.2% for 2019.

Source: AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey

See the supplementary data tables for further information and footnotes about these data.

Indicator technical specifications

The information below provides technical specifications for the summary indicator data presented in the quick reference guide.

National Framework Indicator 3.2 Parental substance abuse (alcohol): Proportion of parents with children aged 0-14 years who drank alcohol at risky levels
  Definition Data source
Numerator Number of parents with children aged 0-14 years who drink at levels that put them at lifetime risk of alcohol-related harm, or who drink at levels that put them at single occasion risk at least once a month AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey
Denominator Number of parents with children aged 0-14 years in the Census 2011 for survey years 2010 and 2013, and the Census 2016 for survey year 2016 ABS Census of Population and Housing

Explanatory notes

Definitions of 'lifetime risk' and 'single occasion risk' are based on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2009 Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol guidelines.

Self-reported data may underestimate the number of people drinking alcohol at risky levels. Reported usage is based on the quantity of alcohol the person believed they were drinking.