Parties are lots of fun. Meeting up and hanging out with friends can be a great way to spend a weekend. But things don’t always go according to plan. Uninvited guests, people getting drunk, and property damage are some of the things that may go wrong at parties and the consequences aren’t fun. So, if you are hosting a party there are a number of things you might want to think about beforehand, including:
The following information applies to Victoria. If you are from a different state, make sure you select the correct state under the link 'change state' on the banner above. If you want more information or legal advice about throwing parties and your rights and responsibilities, please send us a Lawmail.
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 your 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:
- have a single entry point;
- no pass-outs;
- avoid inviting people online. However if you want to invite people on Facebook or email, make sure the list is controlled by you and private.
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:
- help you remove gatecrashers;
- drive by to make sure everything is ok; and
- tell you about any complaints about noise over the phone.
You can notify the police by:
- calling them on 13 14 44
- going to your local police station or
- downloading a ‘Party Safe’ form from the website and handing it in at least two days before the party to your local police station in person, by post, fax or email.
Remember to tell the police if the party gets postponed, relocated or cancelled.
If you’re having a party at licensed premises, like a club or pub, it is illegal for staff to give alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. In fact, in some areas it is illegal for people under 18 to even be there unless they are in the company of an adult responsible for them (like a parent). It is also against the law for anyone under 18 to drink alcohol or to carry it on these premises and if you are caught, you will be fined.
If you are having a party at your house, people under the age of 18 can only drink if an adult responsible for them (like their parent) supplies it or gives permission for them to drink.
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. If you have guests who are planning to drink there are a number of options:
- organise a taxi
- offer them a couch to sleep on
- organise a designated driver (someone who takes a night off from drinking to drive others home).
Drink spiking is against the law. This is when people add alcohol or another substance to someone else’s drink without their knowledge. In Victoria, it is against the law if you put a substance in another person's drink that is likely to interfere with their bodily functions, (for example, by putting them to sleep or causing them to pass out) and you can face up to five years imprisonment. It doesn’t matter if this was just a joke or a prank. Check out the Kids Helpline Safe Partying page for some great advice on managing alcohol.
It’s illegal to have drugs at your house or on your body (e.g. in your pocket). If you are found to have drugs in your possession, you may face big fines or even be imprisoned. 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. For more information regarding sexual assault please read our Sexual Assault page.
If there is a medical emergency, you should 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 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.
The most common complaint from neighbours is the level of noise at parties and it’s the most common reason police are called to a party. The best way to avoid complaints from your neighbours is to give them some warning of your party. However, you must also keep noise to a minimum, especially after midnight. In Victoria, it is against the law to create or allow an 'unreasonable noise'. Noise will be considered unreasonable depending on its volume, duration, the time it is made and whether it can be heard in a room in your neighbour's house.
If your party is considered to be creating 'unreasonable noise', then the police can tell you to stop the noise for up to 72 hours. If you continue to play loud music or make unreasonable noise afterwards, you may be fined.
In Victoria, there are restrictions for the use of musical instruments, televisions and sound systems which are commonly used at parties. The restricted times are:
Monday to Thursday: before 7am and after 10pm
Friday: before 7am and after 11pm
Saturday: before 9am and after 11pm
Sunday: before 9am and after 10pm
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.
For more information, see our Being Sued page.
Have an emergency contact list drawn up and put it in a place where it could be seen. The list should include:
- Emergency: Police, Ambulance and Fire 000;
- Poisons Information Centre 131 126;
- A responsible person’s number.
For more tips on party planning visit:
For more information or legal advice, please send us a Lawmail.
This page was last reviewed in March 2015.