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Thousands of children in the UK are living in fear because of their parents' drinking and drug taking, the NSPCC says.

The number of children calling ChildLine with concerns about their parents' drinking and drug abuse has doubled in the past year, the charity has said.

The NSPCC's 24-hour helpline received 5,323 calls – more than 100 a week – from children worried about by their parents' behaviour, up from 2,509 the previous year.

Many of the children who contacted the service were between the ages of 12 and 15, but a substantial minority – one in 10 – were aged 11 or under and still at primary school.

The charity said thousands of children live in fear of being on the receiving end of their parents' anger, with one in six saying they had fallen victim to physical violence by their mum or dad when they were under the influence.

Many children are being forced to live in dirty and even dangerous surroundings because the household money is frittered away on alcohol, the charity added.

The emotional trauma of their parents' substance abuse combined with their chaotic home lives is driving many children to depression, self harm and even suicidal thoughts, the NSPCC claimed.

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