THE NSPCC has seen a nine per cent rise is calls relating to substance abuse near children in the South West. 

Between 2013/14 - 2015/16, more than 2,000 calls were received from people in the South West about drug and alcohol abuse near children. 

Around 650 called the helpline last year, with 593 calling in 2013/14. 

In response to the calls, a total of 1,793 referrals were made to external agencies. 

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “Drug and alcohol abuse can have hugely damaging effects around children and it’s clearly troubling to see a rise over time in reports of this problem to our helpline.

“Substance misuse all too often leads to the neglect or abuse of a child and it’s absolutely crucial that we do all we can to stop that. The NSPCC provides services directly to families suffering from these problems to help them overcome them and provide their children with a safe and secure upbringing.

“But everyone has a duty to look out for potential signs of distress and the NSPCC’s helpline is there to provide help and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The figures come at the start of Children of Alcoholics Week, which aims to raise awareness of the problems associated with parental alcohol problems. 

The helpline is a free and confidential service that adults can contact by phone or online to get advice or share their concerns about a child.

One member of the public got in touch with the NSPCC helpline to report concerns of drug taking in a home also occupied by children. The caller said: "They have a party going on in the house every weekend; I see lots of people entering and leaving the property and there is a strong smell of drugs lingering in the air when this happens.

"The children are inside the home when the parties are taking place and I’m becoming worried for their welfare. The mother has a drinking problem and she regularly leaves the children at home on their own too.

"I don’t want to approach her myself as it may create tension between us. What should I do?"

Another caller got in touch with allegations related to alcohol abuse: "I feel really sad about what’s happened but I’m concerned about the children.

"The father of the child lost his partner recently and has since started drinking heavily. He has stopped going to work and isn’t doing much with himself apart from drinking away.

"I’ve noticed the children aren’t going to school regularly anymore or being fed properly. Most of the furniture in the house is smashed up and I don’t think it’s suitable for children to be living in.

"I feel really stressed out because I don’t know what to do – please help."

The NSPCC’s Helpline is available on 0808 800 5000 or