Gatecrashers spoil the party
By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
DEZARYE Baker spent her 16th birthday sitting on the ground scared and crying as gatecrashers fought around her.
Her mum, Ally Wilson, wanted to throw Dezarye a party to celebrate her 16th birthday with family and friends early this year but, despite taking every precaution, the night was a free-for-all, with numerous fights breaking out.
"I was standing in the middle of it trying to hold them apart,'' Ms Wilson said.
"That was the scariest part and having my daughter screaming her head off.
"It's heart-breaking seeing her sitting there crying because there are so many fights.''
Uninvited youths, mostly in their 20s, forced themselves into the party and refused to leave.
Out of control youth parties, like Dezarye's, have sparked a number of recommendations by the State Government.
Expanded move-on powers for police and making parents pay their child's unpaid fines for underage drinking offences are the some of the proposed new changes.
Statewide move-on powers will help resolve issues of gatecrashing and hopefully let parents like Ms Wilson breathe a little easier.
"It doesn't matter if you tell them to leave,'' Ms Wilson said.
"They just ignore you and it gets out of hand.
"To me it's exhausting. They really don't care.
"Fights kept breaking out. Being here on my own it's terrifying.
"But even at Dezarye's there were at least 10 adults. You get five of them (gatecrashers) in a group and they just have no respect.''
Ms Wilson feared behaviour had become worse and new police powers were sorely needed.
"It's getting worse.
"The violence ? it's full on,'' Ms Wilson said. "It's just not something you can enjoy any more.''
Gladstone police agreed gatecrashers were a big problem and also said adults should be held responsible for underage drinking.
Senior Sergeant Mike Dixon recommended residents register the parties with police and gain advice and assistance, but said trouble with gatecrashers could still arise.
"Although parties may be held by responsible parents they often fall short of expectations,'' he said.
Snr Sgt Dixon said, in his eyes, adults and parents who provided kids with alcohol committed the worst offences. "There are adults and parents that make it easy for them (kids),'' Snr Sgt Dixon said.
"One wonders at the motivation of these people.''
In his position, Snr Sgt Dixon knew as well as anyone the ramifications of underage drinking and wild parties.
"We're seeing them on a regular basis,'' Snr Sgt Dixon said.
"Not only do they become potential offenders,'' Snr Sgt Dixon said.
"But they become potential victims for sexual assault, assault or theft.''
He also recalled many traffic accidents involving Gladstone's youth that involved alcohol.
The key issues addressed by the Safe Youth Parties report were the supply of alcohol to minors and parental responsibility.