Hosting a party at home or at a local venue can be great fun. You’ll want to have a night your guests will remember for all the right reasons and as a host it is your responsibility to ensure your guests party safe!
Below are some key points for you to consider when preparing and having your party or gathering.
Before the Party
- Register your party with police via the Party Safe Registration page. Try and register your party at least two weeks beforehand so that police are able to supply you with all your Party Safe wristbands and other helpful information well in time for your party.
- Try to avoid using the open social media, SMS or word of mouth to advertise your party. If word of the party has spread you may need to take extra preventative measures i.e., change venue, organise more adult supervision or hire security.
- Make entrance to the party by invitation only, and let people know that it is an exclusive party. This way there will only be people you know and want at your party and it will discourage gatecrashers.
- Make the start and finish times clear on your invitation. Encourage parents to collect their children or for guests to make arrangements for safe transport home at the end of the party.
- Clearly state on your invitation if the party is alcohol free, BYO or if alcohol will be supplied. If you don’t allow people to BYO it will be easier to control the amount of alcohol that is served.
- Let your neighbours know about your party in advance as this may reduce concerns about parking or noise later. Give them your contact details so that they can contact you directly with any concerns on the night, rather than the police. You could use the draft Letter to Neighbours provided.
- Ensure all your valuables are locked away so they can’t be damaged, broken or stolen. Mobile phones, laptops, cameras and handbags are amongst the property most targeted by thieves.
- Ensure that you have ready access to a phone during the event. Have emergency service numbers ready, just in case.
- Ensure your first aid kit is well stocked and easy to access. Plan what to do if a guest becomes sick or intoxicated. If a person is drunk and has or looks like they may pass out or collapse, contact a doctor or call an ambulance immediately. While waiting for the ambulance, lay the person on their side in the ‘recovery’ position to ensure their airway remains clear and stay with them.
- Be mindful of your obligations as a host. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs affects your ability to make safe decisions; stay in control and sober so that you are able to deal with problems quickly and effectively.
- Check your liability insurance so you know what your policy covers, in particular, what would be covered if your party resulted in personal injury to a third party or damage to their property.
- Ensure that the venue for your party is suitably equipped for the number of people invited. Consider the size of the venue, whether there are enough seats and tables available and whether there are sufficient toilets so people don’t have to go outside.
- When planning your party be mindful of the layout. Consider placing tables of food in central locations within easy reach. Keep the area where alcohol is served to a single central location, so it can be monitored, and away from the party entrance.
- Make sure there is appropriate lighting for the venue; particularly any dark hidden-away areas you may have.
- Make sure that any out-of-bounds areas are adequately secured.
- Consider where people will put their valuables when they arrive and during the party.
- Is there a smoking area? Some people smoke and a designated smoking area will keep guests from going outside or congregating out the front of your venue.
- Consider if there are any potential hazards that require extra preventative measures or supervision e.g. swimming pools, gas heaters, BBQs.
Security and crowd control
- Remember it is your party and you have the right to set the standard of acceptable behaviour and see that it is maintained. As the host, you may be legally liable if a guest causes damage to property or another person.
- Consider what type of supervision or security you need for your party? Will you use friends, other parents, private security? How many do you need? What do you want them to do on the night? i.e., checking attendees off a list as they arrive, stopping alcohol being brought into the venue, dealing with uninvited or unruly people.
- Think about having only one entrance and exit to your party (to make it easier to control who attends your party) and consider how this will be monitored and controlled.
- Try and ensure that your supervision/security is visible. Visible security will discourage gatecrashers and help maintain the standard of behaviour of your guests.
- If gatecrashers turn up, act quickly by refusing them entry and asking them to leave immediately. It's your party and you have the right to refuse entry to your property and to ask people to leave at any time.
- Try not to allow people to wander round or congregate out the front of your venue. Try to confine the party to a backyard, building or enclosed area as it is easier to control your guests. Avoid using front yards or street frontages as this can attract uninvited guests and is more likely to elicit complaints from neighbours.
- Contact your local police IMMEDIATELY should trouble occur. REMEMBER in an EMERGENCY call Triple Zero (000).
Food and Alcohol
- Ensure food and water are readily available for all guests throughout the party. Snacks high in protein and carbohydrates such as cheese, dips, crackers, chips, raw vegetables and meat delay the absorption of alcohol.
- If you are providing alcohol, limit full strength alcoholic drinks such as full strength beer, spirits, wine or champagne. Provide a good selection of lower strength drinks.
- Have a wide variety and sufficient supply of non-alcoholic drinks such as non-alcoholic punch, mocktails, fruit juice and soft drinks.
- Only serve alcohol from one area within your party, which is away from the party entrance, and have a responsible sober adult serving the drinks.
- Discourage people from going around and topping up glasses as this makes it hard to keep track of how much alcohol they are drinking.
- Stop serving alcohol an hour before the party is to end. Consider serving hot drinks or non-alcoholic drinks along with some food prior to your guests heading home.
- Do not allow people to leave with drinks; remember it is illegal to consume alcohol in public places.
- Should you decide to allow guests to bring their own alcohol, avoid providing open containers that can be ‘spiked’ or used to disguise the volume of alcohol being consumed.
Alcohol, drugs and the law
- It is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under 18 in a public place. It is also an offence for a person under 18 to possess or consume alcohol in a public place.
- It is an offence for anyone to supply alcohol to a person under 18 on private property unless they are a responsible adult for that minor (i.e., a parent, step-parent or guardian of the minor, or an adult who has parental rights and responsibilities for the minor) and the supply of alcohol is not irresponsible. If police are called to a party and see irresponsible supply of alcohol and people under 18 years of age not being responsibly supervised then the police may seize all alcohol and if you supplied the alcohol you could face charges in court and a significant fine.
- Remember young people, like adults, can be arrested for behaviours associated with drinking (such as violence or property damage).
- It is a criminal offence to be in possession of illicit drugs including cannabis, and could result in a fine or prison sentence if you are charged and convicted.
Out-of-control parties and events
- Any person who organises (i.e. is substantially involved in arranging, hosting, managing, advertising or promoting the party) a party that becomes out-of-control commits an offence; unless they have taken reasonable steps to prevent the party from becoming out-of-control. If charged and convicted, they could face a significant fine or prison sentence, and could be ordered to contribute to the costs incurred by police in responding to the out-of-control party. If the person organising the party is a child, and their parent (or guardian) gave them permission to organise the party, the parent could instead by guilty of the offence.
- If your party becomes out-of-control, or a police officer believes your party is likely to become an out-of-control, they have the power to enter the venue (without a warrant), give directions and take any steps they consider reasonably necessary to stop the party, disperse party guests or protect public order and safety. You must comply with all reasonable directions given to you by a police officer. If you fail to do so you are committing an offence and, if charged and convicted, could face a significant fine or prison sentence.