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JCCV Contributes to Government Crackdown on Underage Drinking

JCCV Contributes to Government Crackdown on Underage Drinking

22 March 2011

JCCV president John Searle today applauded the Victorian Government for its intended introduction of legislation this week, providing for $7,000 fines for adults who give alcohol to children without parental permission.

Searle had met with new Attorney-General Robert Clark soon after Clark’s appointment and had proposed this very innovation. He noted that he was extremely gratified with the hearing he had received and delighted that the Government was on the same page and that prompt action has been taken.

According to Searle, the significance of this legislation is that it will educate the community about appropriate behaviour and encourage adults to consider their actions and their duty of care to others.

Searle stated, “It is well established that heavy drinking can cause serious harm to developing brains. It is incumbent on older people, particularly those in roles of responsibility, to set limits for children and also to act as role models in regard to their own behaviour.  If we expect young people to change their attitudes, we really need to focus on adults."

“According to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), not drinking alcohol is the safest option for anyone under the age of 18,” Searle added.  “This is a recent amendment to its 2001 Guidelines which had recommended that young people not drink above levels suggested for adults. “

The NHMRC acknowledges that the risks of accidents, injuries, violence and self-harm are high among drinkers aged below 18 years. Young people who drink are more prone to risky and antisocial behaviour than older drinkers.  Earlier initiation of drinking is related to increased alcohol consumption in adolescence and young adulthood, and these patterns in turn are related to the possibility of damage to the developing brain and development of alcohol related harms in adulthood.

The JCCV established a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) some two years ago that has focused on students in Jewish Schools in response to an obvious need to strongly counter under-age drinking. This Program has been enthusiastically received by the Schools, including parents and students, for its sensible and inclusive approach to this problem.

For further information, contact Debbie Zauder, JCCV YAP Project Officer, on 03 9272 5566.

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