Advice on serving alcohol at parties
Growing up in our complex society today is no easy matter. Young people have more temptations to face, including drugs and alcohol, more opportunities to exercise their independence with cars, mobile phones and credit cards, and more exposure to anti-social behaviour from television and videos. Today’s young people find life’s choices are more perplexing and tantalizing than any previous generation did.
Our school shares with parents the responsibility for the development of our young people and their ability to make sound choices. If either avoids responsibility then the other becomes relatively powerless to provide effective influence. Our experience indicates that parents are not uniformly aware of the issues and problems and consequently, we have prepared this statement in the hope that it will be helpful.
Students, parents and the Police regularly report to us incidents of parties getting out of control often with serious consequences for hosts and guests. It is for these reasons that we would like to share these suggestions with you.
At Gippsland Grammar we strongly recommend that parents do not allow underage children to drink alcohol. There is strong research to suggest that parents should delay their child’s exposure to alcohol for as long as possible. It is a myth to think that you can teach a child how to drink responsibly, you are simply teaching them how to drink.
Advice to parents who are giving a party:
- It is natural to be concerned about having a party for young people, but this does provide a good opportunity to talk to your young person about how to party safely
- Clear agreement on limitations and expectations is an important initial step.
- Keep the size of the party manageable and restricted to a confined area.
- Invitations should be issued in writing to a particular person and numbered, with a clearly stated start and finish time.
- Advise your children not to give the impression among friends that their party is to be an “open house”.
- Include the name and phone number of the host on invitations to encourage other parents to seek further information.
- The party should not be advertised publicly or on the Internet.
- Gatecrashers should be asked to leave immediately. Call the Police if they do not leave.
- Provide only one entrance or exit and you may consider hiring a licensed security person.
- Responsible parents must be in attendance and exercising supervision. (Older siblings are not sufficient).
- Guests should not be permitted to leave the party and return later.
- Young people should be delivered to the door and collected personally by parents and not left standing on the footpath or disturbing the neighbours.
- If the party is to be held in a public hall or sporting facility, inspect it beforehand. Avoid facilities with close public transport access and avoid buildings with multiple entrances.
- If alcohol is to be permitted at the party, discourage guests from bringing their own. This will enable you to control to whom it is distributed and how much they have.
- A mix of older and younger children at a party makes the control of drinking very difficult.
- Ample quantities of non-alcoholic drinks and food should always be available.
- You can inform the Police of the details of the party. They may then patrol the areas that night.
- Advising neighbours about the party can avoid problems with parking and noise complaints later.
- Emergency contact numbers should be readily at hand.
- It is now against Victorian law to serve alcohol in a private home to anyone under 18, unless their parents have given permission.
- Adults who break the law face fines over $7,000 – the same amount a licensee would be fined for selling alcohol to a minor.
How will this be enforced?
The law will be enforced where the police have evidence that it has been broken. It’s important to remember that the laws about minors and alcohol are complicated. Often, situations in which the laws may have been broken are emotional and tense, such as after a minor has been injured as a result of alcohol consumption. If you’re not sure in a situation where minors and alcohol are involved, it’s best to steer clear of any possible wrongdoing.
Getting parents’ permission
If parents plan to serve or supply alcohol to your underage friends in their home, they will need to get permission from guest’s parents or legal guardians. They will need to be confident that this permission is genuine, because if challenged they will need to prove that the parent of the child had actually given permission.
REMEMBER that this is YOUR party it is YOUR right to set the standard of acceptable behaviour and to see that it is maintained. You also have the right to ask people to leave. Be aware that you may be legally responsible for any injury or damage that occurs at your party.
Have at your disposal the phone numbers of local Police, ambulance and taxis and use as your first resort. Remember you can register your party with the local Police.
Advice for parents before allowing their children to attend a party
- Establish a policy with your children about your expectations of their attendance at parties or sleepovers. This may include always contacting the host, being clear on starting and finish times and the nature of the party.
- It is your right to insist that your child doesn’t drink at parties. You will not be the only parent who feels this way and other parents will appreciate your support.
- Networking with the parents of your child’s friends can establish a consistent approach, ensuring easier parenting.
- Establish whether alcohol will be available or consumed at the party- this may influence your decision.
- You may wish to leave your phone number and contact details with the host of the party. Make sure that you have the name, address and telephone number of the hosts.
- Make sure your child can contact you in an emergency, or if they feel uncomfortable at the party.
- Be aware that your child might be exposed to cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. They should be aware of the consequences of their consumption.
- Ensure your children are aware of the alcohol content in different types of drinks. A VB stubby has around 4.9% alcohol, while spirits like Bourbon contain 40% alcohol.
- Ensure your children are aware of the future health consequences of smoking and drug use. Tobacco is addictive and it is OK to say “no”.
- The law prohibits the so-called soft drugs as well as hard drugs. Many parents do not appreciate that drugs are often easily and freely available at parties. First-time users of marijuana usually do not pay.
- Attending parties with alcohol increases the likelihood of risk taking behaviour.
- No function will be arranged in the name of the School without the School’s formal approval.
- “Deb parties” are not endorsed by the School and the association of the School’s name with such functions is a misrepresentation.
- Ensure safe transport to and from parties and make your children aware of the often fatal combination of driving and alcohol.
TRUE OR FALSE – SOME MYTHS WORTH CLARIFYING:
TRUE Nothing reduces blood alcohol content. Time is the only thing that helps you sober up.
FALSE Exercising, having a cold shower or drinking coffee sobers you up.
TRUE It takes about one hour for every standard alcoholic drink to pass through your system.
FALSE Vomiting or urinating sobers you up.
TRUE All drugs can be addictive including marijuana and alcohol.
FALSE Drinking milk before a night out stops alcohol entering the bloodstream.
Please click on the Parent Information Link.
Looking for a School?
Request a Gippsland Grammar Information Pack