Community Hidden Harm Awareness Team

The Community Hidden Harm Awareness Team (CHHAT) is a project of The Children’s Society East, working with young carers across Essex aged 8-19 years who are affected by parental substance use (also known as Hidden Harm). 


Prior to working with CHHAT many of these young carers are hidden within society not accessing the support they need and deserve.  Our work involves supporting these young carers in a variety of ways, to help them understand Hidden Harm, and begin to notice and express their feelings surrounding their individual experiences, building resilience and improving emotional wellbeing and safety. . 

With young people’s consent professionals can refer individual young people into CHHAT for support. In order to make a referral please complete and return our referral form.

The type of support we offer is determined following our assessment including:

  • One to one support
  • Group work
  • Activity days
  • Liaising with professionals

Our referral criteria is as follows:

  • CHHAT is a county wide project across Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock).
  • CHHAT can work with early intervention cases through to high intervention cases.  However CHHAT cannot be used as a step down service and where other agencies are involved (in particular around safeguarding) we need referrals prior to closure.
  • CHHAT works directly with young people aged 8-19 effected by parental substance misuse.  This includes parental alcohol, illegal drug and legal drug misuse.
  • Under 13 year olds will need parental consent.
  • Many of the young people working with CHHAT are young carers living with the parent who is misusing substances.  However we also work with young people where there is historic parental substance misuse, or where the young person is no longer living with the parent misusing substances.
  • Where young people are misusing substances themselves, please refer them into the Essex Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service (EYPDAS) rather than CHHAT, via The Children’s Society website link above.


If you have any questions about the CHHAT project, please do not hesitate to contact The Children’s Society East on 01245 493311 and ask to speak to a member of the CHHAT team.

 Here is some of the amazing work produced by young carers attending our groups.