Dismont: Parties can be high risk for teens
Family Centre executive director Martha Dismont has warned parents to become more aware of the type of parties their teenaged children attend, adding that they could be “high-risk environments”.
She was commenting on a recent case in Magistrates’ Court involving two teenaged boys who armed themselves with a metal baseball bat, a knife and an axe to go to a party. They told police they were carrying the weapons for “protection”.
The 16-year-olds received two-year conditional discharges with probation by Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner.
Ms Dismont said: “Young people are attending parties expecting to find alcohol and possibly weed, and fortifying themselves in the event of a fight. The situation is very concerning. We do not know the numbers, however, we know that the behaviour has become common at parties, particularly for high-risk young people.
“Unfortunately, we have too many ‘unchecked’ environments where risky behaviour takes place. We must close these loopholes by putting more attention and scrutiny on what is happening with our teenagers and young people, not when something occurs, but earlier in the lives of children.”
But she said: “The more concerning behaviour is the behaviour of young people that goes ‘unchecked’ by parents. This includes young people carrying ‘weapons’ to an event and an environment that young people expect to be volatile.”
She also called on parents of teenagers “to be more aware of the type of parties taking place in their homes, and the atmosphere that is created”.
“If young people under the age of 18 are hosting parties, given the high-risk activity that is so prevalent, it is imperative that parents are fully aware of the type of event being planned and who is expected to be at the event,” she said.
Ms Dismont concluded: “Efforts to develop more positive youth programmes, positive youth role models and educating parents on effective parenting skills will combat these behaviours.”