Parties are lots of fun. Meeting up and hanging out with friends can be a great way to spend a weekend. But things do not always go the way we expect them to. Uninvited guests, people getting drunk, and property damage are some of the things that can go wrong at parties and the consequences are not pleasant.
Once you decide to have a party, a good idea is to make a guest list and stick to it. Having people you don’t know turn up to a party can cause a good time to get out of control. There are a few ways you can make sure you and your friends don’t have to worry about people you didn’t invite ruining your night:
It is a good idea to register your party beforehand with the local police station. If the police are aware of your party they can:
You can notify the police by calling them on 13 14 44 or going to your local police station. Remember to tell the police if the party gets postponed, relocated or cancelled.
If you are having your party at licensed premises (a place that is legally allowed to serve alcohol) it is illegal for staff to serve alcohol for anyone under the age of 18. You must be over 18 to buy alcohol or to drink alcohol in public places including pubs or nightclubs. Anyone over the age of 18 that provides alcohol to someone under 18 in a public place is also breaking the law. It is important to remember that in some areas (adults only) of licensed premises, it is illegal for someone under the age of 18 to even be there unless they are under the care of a guardian or responsible adult. If you are caught in an adult only area at a licensed premised, you could be fined up to $750.
There are no laws that make it a crime to drink alcohol supplied by your parents in a private home. If you are having a party and your guests are under 18, it is best to get permission from their parents before you serve them alcohol.
If people are drinking, remind your guests it is illegal and dangerous to drink and drive. If your guests are on their “P” plates they must not have a blood alcohol reading when they drive. If anyone has their full licence, the limit is 0.05g. Generally this means you can have two standard drinks in your first hour and one every hour after that but will depend on your weight, size and alcohol tolerance. If you have guests who are planning to drink there are a number of options:
It is never ok to add alcohol or another substance to someone else’s drink without their knowledge. This can be very distressing and lead to someone getting seriously hurt. Check out the Kids Helpline Safe Partying page for some great advice on managing alcohol.
If you have any illegal drugs at your house or on your body (e.g. in your pocket) you may be fined up $7500 or face up to 2 years imprisonment. However, if there are drugs at your house and in someone else’s control you will not be guilty of possession. Control means the right to own or use them. For more information on the penalties you could face for possessing or using drugs please check out our Drugs page.
It is always a crime for anyone to threaten to hurt, touch in a sexual way without consent or force another person to take part in any sexual activity against their will. It is important to remember that regardless of whether or not people are drinking at your party, you want to make sure all your guests stay safe. One way to keep each other safe is to stay together or make plans to check in with each other throughout the night.
It is important that if someone gets hurt or drinks too much and it is an emergency you call an ambulance on 000. In the case of a drug overdose, and you don’t know whether the amount taken was damaging, you can also ring Poisons Information on 131 126, anytime and anywhere in Australia for advice. Be aware that it takes a while for the symptoms of an overdose to appear, so even if the person appears to be all right, get help and advice.
In the Australia Capital Territory, it is against the law to create noise which exceeds the limits stated by the Environmental Protection Regulations. Noise which exceeds these limits is classed as being an “environmental harm”. How much noise you can make depends on whether you live in a house or block of units, the day and the time of day. Noise is the most common complaint by neighbours about parties and the most common reason the police are called. A good way to avoid complaints is to give your neighbours some warning about your party.
The level of sound is measured in decibels (dB (A) and is measured from the boundary of your property. In residential areas the noise limit on Mondays 7 am to 10 pm and Sundays 8 am to 10 pm is 45 dB (A) which overall is quiet. This is the equivalent of a bird call. On Monday to Saturday (10 pm to 7 am) and Sunday and Public Holidays (10 pm to 8 am) the noise limit is 35 dB(A). This is the equivalent of the noise level allowed in a library! On New Year’s Eve, music for a party can be up to 60 dB(A) which is as loud as a conversation being had by two people standing within one meter of each other.
If your party is judged to be creating such noise as to cause “environmental harm”, then the police can order a noise abatement direction to stop the noise and you may be fined up to a maximum of $1500.
Having a party at your house is a lot of responsibility. You take on a duty for the safety of all your guests so make sure items that can injure your guests are set aside. If your guest is injured, they may be able to sue either you or your parents/guardian for negligence.
Have an emergency contact list drawn up and put it in a place where it could be seen. The list should include:
For more tips on party planning visit:
You may copy and use this fact sheet.
This page was last revised on 27 February 2015
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