27 Apr, 2012 Last updated: 30 Nov, 2014

Parents living in Melton Shire are invited to a free info forum to learn effective parenting strategies from experts, including how to talk to teenagers about alcohol.

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Parents living in Melton Shire are invited to a free info forum to learn effective parenting strategies from experts, including how to talk to teenagers about alcohol.

The forum will be held at Caroline Springs Secondary College at 7pm on 2 May 2012. Forum attendees will be entered into a draw to win an iPad.

The forum, supported by VicHealth, the Australian Drug Foundation and the Victorian Government, is designed to provide parents with the know-how to confront issues with binge drinking and teen parties.

Local parent, Bruce Clark, who lost his 15-year-old son Leigh to alcohol provided by another parent in 1999, campaigned to get alcohol supply law changed in Victoria.

“I want parents to discuss alcohol and parties with their children and other parents and also to be aware of the risks their children face,” he said. “Parents should grasp the chance to keep their children safe, and protect them from the harm that alcohol can cause.”

Course facilitator Leigh Bartlett, of the Barwon Adolescent Taskforce, strongly encourages parents to attend this one-off opportunity.

“This session is about equipping parents with real strategies they can put in to place straight away to help keep their kids safe,” Ms Bartlett said. “We want parents to feel reassured that they can have meaningful conversations and give their children a plan to help them make choices about alcohol.

“It’s also an opportunity to ask questions about the recent Victorian Government secondary supply law, which will affect virtually every parent with a teenager. This law can be a useful conversation starter for parents to bring up the topic of alcohol and safe partying with their children and other parents.”

It is now illegal to serve alcohol in a private home to anyone aged under 18 years, unless their parent or guardian has given permission. Adults who break the law face fines over $7000.

In Victoria, 50 per cent of teenagers aged 16 to 24 drink alcohol at risky levels at least once a month.

State Government figures show that in Melton Shire each year, an average of 43 teenagers out of every 10,000 living in Melton Shire are admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol and 10 out of 10,000 sustain serious injuries as a result of alcohol-related traffic incidents.

VicHealth research into bottle shop concentration shows Melton Shire has one of the highest concentrations of bottle shops square kilometre in Victoria.

Registrations are essential. Go to www.teendrinkinglaw.vic.gov.au or telephone 03 9611 6199.

Experts Leigh Bartlett and Geoff Munro are available for interviews about the upcoming forum and teen drinking.