Good News / Bad News
I’m delighted the State Government is concerned about teenage alcohol abuse.
However, I strongly feel the law described in this article is too narrow.
If we fine adults who give alcohol to children visiting their homes without their parents’ permission, the ripple effect may be bigger than we think.
Private parties need to be managed long before they begin. This is why I’ve been pushing to regulate these events.
It’s not just about alcohol. Parties unravel due to a number of things, including:
- Parents not assisting with planning.
- Inadequate private and public venues.
Creating a secondary alcohol supply offence for parents in relation to private parties may actually do more harm than good.
One of my methods of controlling teen parties is to mange all booze at a central point, including BYO.
Parents collect a teen’s BYO on entry, then take it to a secure bar area where other responsible parents control and serve it. The teen can only drink via this method.
If this new law gets up, parents will be too scared to step in and manage any booze coming into a party, including BYO.
With parents unwilling to handle the booze, kids will help themselves and end up sick, brawling or passed out – all of which are a burden on our community and emergency services.
Proof in the Pudding
During 12 years in Victoria Police and six years as MD of a private security firm, I’ve handled around 650 teen parties. I know how to make them safe.
In the last seven months alone, I’ve planned and organised 70 events using the recommendations in my Safe Event Law Proposal.
Of these 70 events, NOT ONE had alcohol-fuelled issues.
Planning a teen party is the key. I don’t think creating a secondary supply offence will reduce issues at parties.
If the government does proceed, however, I have some questions:
- What happens to parents who want to do the right thing and manage alcohol as it’s brought in?
- What type of parent permission is required for a teen who wants to drink? Email? Note? What if the teen forges it? Will we analyse hand writing?
- Who will enforce this law? If the police, then with what resources?
The key is to have a holistic regulatory framework. One that includes gatecrashing and social networking offences.
As I’ve suggested in my proposal.
Naomi Oakley, Founder, Safe Partying Australia.