Youth Choices: Tips for Leavers Week Safety


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Leavers Week is a common rite of passage which can be loaded with all sorts of different ways to celebrate – some teens descend in large groups on partying hotspots, some celebrate with a few friends, and some prefer to skip the occasion altogether. If your teen is heading to a Leavers event in the South West of WA, or anywhere that they are able to exercise some independence from the family home, it is useful to have a chat with them about your expectations around their safety and decision making for the duration of their celebrations.

Youth Choices has put together some key conversation starters to help empower your teen with practical knowledge on how to stay safe while having fun.

  • Planning ahead. Have a plan for transportation, accommodation, and activities – it’s important that your teen knows where they’ll be staying, how they plan to get to each place, and most importantly, how they plan to safely get home. Knowing their itinerary before they go is a good safety net in the event that something doesn’t quite go to plan.
  • Effects of alcohol and the law. Underage drinking is unlawful in Australia, as well as supplying alcohol to people under the age of 18. However, if your teen plans to drink, it is important that they understand their limits as well as understand the impact alcohol has on the body. Ensure they have knowledge on responsible consumption of alcohol and the tools to push back against peer pressure.
  • Understand legality around driving. Is your teen independently driving? Remind them about any restrictions they may be under as provisional license holders – such as nighttime driving curfews, speed limits, and blood alcohol content. Stress to them the importance of not drinking and driving, as well as not agreeing to be a passenger of a driver who is under the influence of alcohol.
  • Buddy system. Encourage them to stick with their friends and to watch out for each other. It is safer to move in a group and ensure that everyone is accounted for. Alcohol can cause a lower awareness of risk, so it’s important to ensure they are with friends they trust to look out for them and that they never leave a friend alone while out. Remind them to stay in well-lit areas, avoid walking alone at night, and be cautious with strangers and Toolies – stress the importance of being very selective about who they let into their accommodation.
  • Eat and hydrate! Whether they are celebrating with alcohol or not, staying hydrated is crucial as we creep into the summer heat of Western Australia. Encourage them to cook with their friends or create a list of eateries where they can find a filling meal, as well as reminding them of the importance to alternate alcoholic drinks with water to avoid dehydration. Snacks have their place too! Frozen meals, on-the-go snacks, and cases of bottled water are good things to pack to ensure they are always at hand.
  • Stay connected and check in. Remind your teen about keeping their phone charged and to take a portable battery pack where possible. It helps to add emergency contacts under “ICE” or “Emergency” and add those contacts to their favourites list. Some smartphones can actually add emergency contacts to the lock screen through the phone’s settings. Encourage your teen to check in and let you know if or when any plans change.
  • Protect your belongings. Help your teen to avoid losing their valuables by reminding them to not leave bags or phones unattended, especially in crowded places. Caution them on leaving drinks unattended or under the watch of people they don’t know – drink spiking does happen and often very quickly, going unnoticed by others. Remind them that if their drink has been out of their sight for even a few minutes, that it’s safer to get a fresh one and move on.
  • Safety and consent. Chat with your teen about respectful relationships, safe sex, and consent, as well as other personal safety choices, such as using sunscreen, swimming between the flags, and road safety.
  • Stay informed and be respectful. Be aware of local laws, emergency services, and contact information for their accommodation. It’s important for your teen to be familiar with the area and the risks, especially if travelling overseas. Remind them to respect others as well as property – to celebrate responsibly and respectfully without disturbing others or causing damage.

More information can be found on the Leavers Week website. Congratulations to the students who are finishing their schooling this year and please stay safe while celebrating!