We know you want to focus on all the fun stuff when it comes to Schoolies, but we need to take up a little of your time to share some hints and tips on how to be safe and watch your mates whilst you're celebrating the end of school... forever!

When drinking

You don’t need to drink to have a great time at Schoolies. Alcohol may be considered to be the most socially acceptable drug, however, it is responsible for more drug-related deaths and trauma within youth than any other drug.

Alcohol is a depressant which causes the brain to slow down resulting in slurred speech, poor judgement, confusion, slower reaction time, poor vision and lack of coordination. During adolescence, the brain is still developing, making you more sensitive to the effects of alcohol.

Drinking may make you feel happier, more confident and hyper. It can also make it harder to control your emotions, impulses, make good choices and ultimately, lead you to do things you may not normally do which you may later regret. Oh, and not to mention, it can make you feel pretty crappy the next day.

If you are under the age of 18, it is illegal to drink alcohol at Schoolies. It is also illegal to drink in public and to be drunk in a public place – no matter what your age. These are the laws for all of Queensland - not just during Schoolies.

If you are over the age of 18 and chose to drink at Schoolies:

  • pace yourself - shots and sculling will hit you like a freight train and there’s a good chance you’ll end up with your head in the toilet and miss all the fun
  • eat before or while you’re drinking
  • it’s okay to say no. If you think you’ve had too much or don’t want to drink, just say no
  • avoid mixing alcohol and medication (or any type of drug) - the side effects could be very serious
  • stay hydrated – make every second drink a non-alcoholic one (this will help you avoid a nasty hangover the next day too)
  • know your limits - decide on a limit and stick to it. Ask a friend to keep an eye on you and remind you to stop when you’ve reached that limit
  • do not supply alcohol to your underage mates – you could face a fine of $10,444
  • if you’re feeling depressed, anxious or just not yourself, it’s best to avoid alcohol as it can often make your symptoms worse
  • give your body a break - just because you’re at Schoolies doesn’t mean you have to drink every night (your body will thank you for it)
  • do not drive
  • take it in turns to have one sober friend every night
  • do not drink alcohol in public – it is illegal at any age
  • keep an eye on your drinks as drink spiking can happen to anyone, and be done by anyone – even mates
  • when out and about, if you or a friend have had too much to drink, know that you can always ask a Safer Schoolies volunteer for assistance
  • know that it’s risky to have more than two standard drinks per day (on average).

In the event of an emergency, don’t risk it. Always call TRIPLE ZERO (000)

It’s okay to say no

If you are under the age of 18 or have simply made the decision to not drink at Schoolies, you may still get offered alcohol or even feel pressured to drink. It’s normal to want to be with your mates, feel included and avoid conflict so we get it that saying no can be really hard.

Tips to help you say no:

  • Simply say no and let the person know that you really mean it.
  • Stand up straight and make eye contact when saying no.
  • Be prepared with an excuse just in case e.g. nah, not tonight / I’m not feeling great / I’m sitting out tonight
  • Change the subject
  • Remove yourself from the situation
  • Find something else to do with other friends

Remember, the human body is not designed to party for seven days straight. Got a mate who doesn’t want to drink? Be a good friend and sit this one out with them.

True or false?

STATEMENT

I can sober up quickly by taking a cold shower or drinking coffee.

 

FALSE. On average, it takes two to three hours for a single drink to leave the body. Nothing can speed up the process, including drinking coffee, taking a cold shower or ‘walking it off’. The only way to sober up is to give your body time to process the alcohol you’ve consumed.

STATEMENT

Beer and wine are safer than spirits.

 

FALSE. Alcohol is alcohol, it can cause you problems no matter what you consume.

STATEMENT

You can die from drinking alcohol.

 

TRUE. Alcohol is a powerful drug that slows down the body and mind. Drinking too much alcohol too fast can lead to alcohol poisoning which can kill you.

STATEMENT

Most teens drink alcohol.

 

FALSE. Most teens don’t drink alcohol. Research shows that XX % of XXX don’t drink alcohol.

STATEMENT

If someone is under the age of 18, has had too much to drink and is very unwell, calling Triple Zero (000) will lead them to get in trouble with the police.

 

FALSE. In the event of an emergency, don’t risk it – always call Triple Zero (000). Emergency services priority is for the health and safety of the patient.

Drink spiking

Drink spiking is the act of putting alcohol or drugs in to someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission. It can often be linked to crimes such as sexual assault or robbery. It can occur at any time and can be done by anyone, even mates.

Drink spiking is illegal – even if it was done to a friend as a joke.

There are many forms of drink spiking:

  • Slipping drugs (illegal or prescription) in to any alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink
  • Adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic drink
  • Adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink

How to protect yourself from drink spiking:

  • Prepare or buy your own drinks – don’t accept from others, particularly strangers
  • Don’t take your eyes off your drinks or leave them unattended
  • Do not share or swap drinks with others
  • Be wary if someone serves you a drink that is different from what you requested
  • Try to stick to drinks in bottles with screw top lids
  • If you feel sick or dizzy, ask someone you trust to take you to a safe place
  • If you suspect drink spiking, don’t risk it – always call Triple Zero (000)

Top tip – if you think a friend may have had their drink spiked, seek medical attention straight away. Do not leave them alone or with a stranger.

If you can’t get your friend to wake up, if they are behaving unusually or collapse, don’t risk it - call Triple Zero (000).

In an emergency

Getting help for a mate who has had too much to drink is one of the best things you can do as a friend. Stay with them and call Triple Zero (000).

Signs someone might need medical help:

  • vomiting
  • collapse
  • can’t be woken from sleep
  • choking
  • pale or blueish skin
  • seizure or shaking
  • slow or shallow breathing (less than 6 breaths per minute)

Don’t risk it! If your friend is unconscious, roll them on to their side in the recovery position and call Triple Zero (000).

Don’t ever let the fear of getting in trouble stop you from calling Triple Zero. The health and safety of your friend is the main concern of emergency services.

Fines and the law

Regardless of where you are planning on celebrating Schoolies, be aware that the laws surrounding alcohol may be different in each state or country.

In Queensland, you must be over 18 years of age to enter a licensed venue or purchase alcohol.

 

Police and Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation inspectors can issue on-the-spot fines for:

  • drinking in a public place (18 years and over): $130*
  • underage drinking or possession of liquor in a public place, even if you're holding a drink for your friend who is over 18: $391*
  • being under 18 and found on licensed premises: $391*
  • being under 18 and found drinking or just holding a drink for a friend on licensed premises: $391*

If you’re 18 and you supply alcohol to your underage mates, you could face a fine of $10,444.

*Fines are correct at the time of publishing.

In addition to fines, you could also be taken to court for each offence you commit.

You can read more about on-the-spot fines and what to do if you receive an on-the-spot fine.

Did you know? If you’re convicted of a criminal offence, you may find it difficult to get a job or even be prevented from obtaining a visa to travel overseas.

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Around drugs

The safest way to stay safe around drugs at Schoolies is to say no and not use them. Drugs are not worth the risk!

Not only are drugs illegal, but they are dangerous – even life threatening. Remember that Schoolies is all about having a good time and celebrating your achievements with your friends. Make good choices so your Schoolies experience is about creating great memories, not bad ones.

What am I taking?

When it comes to drug making/manufacturing, there is no quality control so you can never know where they’re made, who made them or what they contain. More often than not, they can include ‘fillers’ such as chlorine, veterinary tranquilisers, talcum powder or everyday household cleaning chemicals.

How will it affect me?

Every time you take drugs, you’re gambling with your life. Not only can you never be sure of what you are taking but more importantly, you never know how your body will react. Just because a drug hasn’t had any effect on your friends doesn’t mean that you will have the same experience.

The effects of drugs can be inconsistent and unpredictable - effects can vary between people or can give different results for the same person on different occasions.

If you chose to take drugs at Schoolies:

  • there is no safe level of drug use - taking drugs is always risky
  • stick with your friends as drugs can affect your judgement - they can also get you help in the event of an emergency
  • stay hydrated by taking small sips of water (it’s important not to drink more than 500ml in an hour)
  • tell a friend what you have taken – in the event of an overdose or negative reaction, it will make it easier for emergency services to treat you
  • don’t mix drugs including alcohol, prescription medication or caffeine
  • start small – try a test amount first and then wait two hours
  • avoid taking large amounts of any drug
  • don’t drive or swim as drugs can affect your judgement and reflexes
  • drugs and depression don’t mix – they can heighten your mood and make your symptoms worse
  • misuse of legally purchased substances (e.g. inhaling nangs), is not risk-free and can be harmful to your health
  • in an emergency, don’t risk it – always call Triple Zero (000). Getting help for a friend can be one of the best things you can do for them.

The Safer Schoolies team does not condone the consumption or possession of illegal drugs, or the misuse of legally purchased substances or prescription medication.

It’s okay to say no

Even if you have made the decision that drugs won’t be a part of your Schoolies experience, you may still get offered drugs or even feel pressured to take them. It’s normal to want to be with your mates, feel included and avoid conflict so we get it - saying no can be really hard.

Tips to help you say no:

  • simply say no and let the person know that you really mean it.
  • stand up straight and make eye contact when saying no.
  • be prepared with an excuse just in case e.g. nah, not tonight / I’m not feeling great / I’ve got plans for tomorrow I don’t want to ruin
  • change the subject
  • remove yourself from the situation
  • find something else to do with other friends

Remember, the human body is not designed to party for seven days straight. Got a mate who doesn’t want to party? Be a good friend and sit this one out with them.

Prescription medication tips

Only use prescription medication for its intended purpose. Intentionally misusing or mixing different types of prescription medication can be really dangerous.

  • don't wing it - if you're going to be taking any kind of prescription medication during Schoolies, make sure you visit your GP beforehand so you can chat about the impacts of mixing alcohol with your medication.
  • tell your mates - make sure you're open with your mates that you're staying with so that someone knows what type of medication you're on (in case of a medical emergency)
  • it's up to you - make sure you're clear on dosage instructions, are able to store or safely carry your medication if needed
  • have a backup - with all the sun, surf and action going on, it's easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about time. Easy fix - set a reminder in your phone of when need to take your medication.

In an emergency

Getting help for a mate who is having a bad reaction to drugs is one of the best things you can do for a friend. Stay with them and call Triple Zero (000).

Signs someone might need medical help:

  • unconscious or collapse
  • aggressiveness, paranoia, extreme agitation or distressed
  • slow or shallow breathing (less than 6 breaths per minute)
  • can’t be woken from sleep
  • choking
  • pale or blueish skin
  • seizure or shaking
  • vomiting.

Don’t risk it! If your friend is having a bad reaction to drugs, act quickly and call Triple Zero (000).

Don’t ever let the fear of getting in trouble stop you from calling Triple Zero. The health and safety of your friend is the main concern of emergency services.

Ambulance officers and paramedics will NOT notify the police when they respond to an emergency where illicit drugs are involved unless:

  • there is a risk to physical safety
  • a death has occurred at the scene
  • a person has suffered a violent injury such as a stabbing or shooting.

Fines and the law

Regardless of where you are planning on celebrating Schoolies in Australia, the consumption and possession of illicit drugs is illegal.

If you get caught by the police and charged with committing an offence, you will be dealt with in the criminal justice system. Having a criminal record can drastically affect your future. It can remove opportunities such as getting a job or being allowed to travel to other countries.

Important to remember:

  • it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Police often do roadside testing for both alcohol and drugs during Schoolies
  • police can search you for illegal drugs if they have reasonable cause to suspect that you have some in your possession
  • possessing, producing or supplying others with illegal drugs is a serious criminal offence
  • possessing an implement (e.g. bong, cannabis pipe, needle) that is used for smoking or taking illegal drugs is an offence
  • it is illegal for you to give someone prescription drugs, other than as prescribed
  • selling or supplying tobacco to someone under the age of 18 years of age is illegal
  • if you are caught committing an offence, you will be dealt with in the criminal justice system.

The penalties associated with these offences can be harsh depending on the quantity and type of drug involved – especially if you commit a drug offence overseas.

DID YOU KNOW? The possession and consumption of illicit drugs is illegal in Australia. Drug convictions can affect employment options and your ability to travel overseas.

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At the Schoolies Hub

If you are celebrating Schoolies on the Gold Coast (16-22 November 2019), it is likely you will be spending your nights partying at the Schoolies Hub on Surfers Paradise beach.

Access is the Schoolies Hub is only available for genuine 2019 Year 12 school leavers who have a Safer Schoolies wristband.

Staying safe at the Schoolies Hub

  • stick together – make sure you have a responsible friend to hang with so that you can keep an eye on each other
  • leave no one behind – if you’ve have enough for the night, make sure you don’t leave any of your friends back at the Schoolies Hub alone.
  • pre-arrange a meeting point inside the Schoolies Hub in case you get separated from your friends
  • stay hydrated – head to one of the two Recharge Zones inside the Schoolies Hub where free water is on offer
  • keep your hands to yourself - groping without consent is assault.
  • Stay out of the water – swimming at night can be very dangerous and there may not be any Lifeguards on duty to help if you get into trouble
  • wear shoes – you never know when you may come across glass or sharp objects in your travels.
  • have your phone fully charged in case you can’t find your friends or need to call Triple Zero (000)
  • just walk away – avoid violence or risk serious physical, emotional or criminal consequences. Remember, one punch can kill.
  • if you need to take medical equipment or prescription medication in to the Schoolies Hub, please contact us beforehand at saferschoolies@csyw.qld.gov.au
  • responsible behaviour – remember that you never know who is watching. Be aware that your behaviour could end up in someone’s social media feed or in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Help is always available on the Gold Coast:

  • Safer Schoolies Volunteers – can be found inside the Schoolies Hub (wearing the bright orange vests). Whether you need a walk home, are feeling unwell, have a friend who has drunk too much or just need a friendly face to talk to, a team of volunteers will always be available to help.
  • Recharge Zones – two Recharge Zone tents can be found within the Schoolies Hub (right near each stage) and one outside the entry on the Esplanade. Head to a Recharge Zone for free water, a quiet place to regroup, or support of any kind including medical attention.
  • Emergency Treatment Centre – located on the Esplanade, providing free treatment for medical emergencies.
  • Chill Out Zone – providing a safe and supervised chill out space for those who are drug or alcohol affected, offering free water, first aid and general support. The Chill Out Zone van can be found in the nightclub precinct on Orchid Avenue, from 9pm nightly.
  • Red Frogs – whether you need help mediating a problem with your roommates, a walk home back to your accommodation or would simply love an in-room pancake cook up for you and your mates, Red Frogs Australia are your people. Call the Red Frogs hotline on 1300 557 123 (available 24 hours a day) or download the Red Frogs Schoolies app. Please note: this is not an emergency hotline - Schoolies requiring emergency assistance should always call Triple Zero (000).

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Out and about

Worried about staying safe at Schoolies? We’ve come up with a list of easy and practical tips to help you stay safe so you can have an enjoyable Schoolies for all the right reasons.

Stick together

  • always go out with at least one other friend
  • pre-arrange a meeting place – in case you get separated from your friends
  • If a friend wants to head back to your accommodation, don’t let them walk alone. Either accompany them back or ask a volunteer team to walk them home safely.
  • If you decide to go back to someone else’s apartment, always make sure that you have one of your friends go with you.

Other simple safety tips

  • Before you head to Schoolies, make sure your friends know how to contact your family or carers in the event of an emergency
  • Keep credit on your phone and make sure it’s always fully charged before you head out
  • $20 stashed away somewhere safe (e.g. in your shoe) in case you need to take a taxi or catch public transport.
  • It goes without saying, but make sure you always carry photo ID.
  • Save your hotel address in the notes section of your phone or save it as a destination in your maps app. It can be easy to lose your way in the dark if you know the address you can use your smartphone to help you navigate your way home.
  • Make sure you download the Emergency+ App. It will help to help identify your location and seek assistance in case of an emergency.
  • Don't forget to set up your Medical IDon your smartphone. Having your Medical ID available from the lock screen of your phone allows quick access to vital medical information as well as details of who to contact in case of an emergency

Help is always available on the Gold Coast

  • Safer Schoolies Volunteers – whether you need a walk home, are feeling unwell, have a friend who has drunk too much or just need a friendly face to talk to, a team of volunteers (wearing the bright orange vests) will always be available to help. You can find them walking the streets of Surfers Paradise from 6pm nightly.
  • Recharge Zones – head to a Recharge Zone for free water, a quiet place to regroup, or support of any kind including medical attention without judgement. Two Recharge Zone tents can be found within the Schoolies Hub (right near each stage) and one outside the Schoolies Hub entry on the Esplanade.
  • Emergency Treatment Centre – head here for free treatment for medical emergencies or any mental health concerns. Located on the Esplanade and open from 7pm nightly.
  • Chill Out Zone – providing a safe and supervised chill out space for those who are drug or alcohol affected, offering free water, first aid and general support. The Chill Out Zone van can be found in the nightclub precinct on Orchid Avenue, from 9pm nightly.
  • Red Frogs – whether you need help mediating a problem with your roommates, a walk home back to your accommodation or would simply love an in-room pancake cook up for you and your mates, Red Frogs Australia are your people. Call the Red Frogs hotline on 1300 557 123 (available 24 hours a day) or download the Red Frogs Schoolies app. Please note: this is not an emergency hotline - Schoolies requiring emergency assistance should always call Triple Zero (000).

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With sex

If you choose to engage in sexual activity at Schoolies, it’s important:

  • for you to decide if you want to have sex - if it doesn’t feel right, you can always say no (and at any time)
  • that you both consent to the sexual activity
  • that you have safe sex every time.

Sexual consent is pretty straightforward - it is when both people say YES, and willingly agree to engage in a specific sexual activity.

Sexual consent can be withdrawn at any time. If your partner says NO, that means STOP.

Sexual consent is also not transferable - to a different sexual activity, differ day or different person.

It is important that you ask for consent before engaging in, and continuously during sex.

Consent:

  • must be voluntary and given freely and willingly, without fear, force or intimidation
  • must be given actively and enthusiastically by both parties
  • is NOT silent. Never assume you have consent – you should always clarify by asking
  • must be ongoing and continuous – you or your partner are allowed to change your mind at any stage of a sexual encounter
  • must be clear and concise – agreeing to going back to someone’s place does not mean they’re consenting to sexual activity
  • is not assumed simply because you have had sex with your partner before
  • can’t be given if someone is drunk, under the influence of drugs, asleep, unconscious or semi-conscious
  • is not automatic just because you are in a relationship – including new relationships formed at Schoolies. Only YES means YES
  • is not someone eventually saying yes after repeatedly being pressured to engage in a sexual act – even if they are your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Still struggling with the idea of consent? Check out Blue Seat Studio's 'Consent is like a cup of tea' video.

Did you know? You can always change your mind – at any time, even if you have already started getting intimate. All sexual activity must stop once consent is withdrawn.

It’s important to keep communicating and checking in on whether you are both feeling comfortable with what is happening.

How you can stay safe

Safe sex is having sexual contact while protecting yourself and your sexual partner against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. When it comes to safe sex, when used correctly, condoms offer the best protection against STIs and pregnancy.

If you choose to have sex at Schoolies:

  • always use condoms – they offer the best protection against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. Know that our Safer Schoolies Volunteers will always be carrying some if you’re ever in need.
  • don’t think you can tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. Most STIs don’t have any obvious signs.
  • before having sex, talk about using condoms with your partner and come to an agreement about using condoms. Remember, you have the right to say NO if your partner does not agree to use condoms.
  • if you are having unprotected sex, talk to your partner about the risks involved. Your decision about safe sex is important—some STIs can be cured but some can’t (e.g. herpes), and you may not experience any initial symptoms.
  • be aware that drugs and alcohol may affect your ability to make good decisions. Protect yourself from having sex that you might regret or were pressured into because you weren’t thinking properly.

Safer sex is also about having sex when you and your partner are ready, consensual and having sex that’s enjoyable, respectful and protected.

Understanding sexual assault

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual, physical, verbal or visual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, frightened or forces them to have sexual contact against their will.

There are different forms of sexual assault including:

  • unwanted fondling or touching above or under clothing
  • rape
  • harassment
  • exposing or flashing without consent
  • forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures or videos
  • molestation
  • incest
  • sharing naked photos without consent (even if they were given to you with consent).

Sexual assault is never your fault. Sexual assault is a crime.

What to do if you have been sexually assaulted?

If you have been sexually assaulted, know that you’re not alone and that you shouldn’t feel ashamed or to blame as what has happened to you isn’t your fault.

The first thing you should do is go somewhere you feel safe such as the home of a friend or family member or even to your nearest Hospital Emergency Department. Then if you feel that you can, you should consider telling someone you trust what has occurred.

At Schoolies, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for the Ambulance Service, or talk to one of our Safer Schoolies volunteers and they will help you speak to an Ambulance Officer.

Where to get support:

  • Triple Zero (000) and ask for Queensland Ambulance and / or Queensland Police
  • go to the nearest Hospital Emergency Department
  • Queensland Sexual Assault Help Line on 1800 010 120 (for females) or 1800 600 626 (for males) for free, confidential support – 7:30am – 11:30pm 7 days.
  • 13 HEALTH – 13 43 25 84 for confidential and qualified health advice 24 hrs 7 days.
  • 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732 for 24 hour confidential sexual assault support and counselling
  • A.R.A. to anonymously report sexual assault

It is strongly recommended that you seek medical care if you have been sexually assaulted. A doctor can test and treat you for any sexually transmitted infections, carry out a forensic examination (if you were assaulted very recently and you wish to report the crime to the police) and importantly, provide information on sexual assault and follow-up support services.

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With social media and privacy

Social media

If it didn't happen on social media, it didn't happen right? When you upload photos or video to social media, you run the risk of not knowing where it may end up.

Don’t let a photo or video ruin a future. What can start out as a bit of fun may end up being viewed by a wider audience than originally planned including your family, media and even future employers. And this doesn't just relate to sexting!

Before Schoolies, make sure you:

  • set your profiles to ‘private’ or ‘friends only’ and only accept friend requests from people you know and trust
  • tell your friends to ask for your permission before uploading and/or tagging a photo of you (and do the same for them)
  • set privacy settings to allow you to review photo tags before they appear on your profile and your friends’ newsfeeds.

When you’re at Schoolies:

  • think before you share. Would you be happy if your parents saw the photo? Would you be OK with a future employer seeing it?
  • be a good mate and don’t share embarrassing photos of your friends online. If your friend is in an embarrassing situation a real friend would help their friend, rather than photographing it
  • remember that you may be filmed or photographed at any time. Schoolies have been charged after their stupid behaviour was caught on camera, so be responsible and aware.
  • don’t film crimes or assaults to promote them online as you could be charged and face heavy fines or a criminal conviction.
  • if a friend has tagged you in an inappropriate photo ask them to remove the image from social media. A real friend would respect your wishes.

Check out the ThinkUKnow or eSafety Commissioner websites for more information.

Sexting

Sexting is the sending of provocative or sexual photos, messages or videos. They are generally sent using a mobile phone but can also include posting online.

While sharing suggestive images or text messages may seem like innocent flirting or be considered funny, sexting can have serious social and legal consequences:

  • sending a sext to someone who does not wish to receive it is illegal
  • images can be shared with a very large audience quickly and linger in cyberspace for years
  • employers often conduct social media and Google searches on prospective employees - future boyfriends and girlfriends may also do the same
  • if you are under the age of 18, you may be charged with producing and disseminating child pornography or be put on the Sex Offender Register.

What to do if you receive an unwanted sext

  • never on-forward a sext to anyone else
  • if the sext makes you feel uncomfortable, contact your local Police station (do not delete the images).

Think before you sext

  • have you considered how the receiver will feel or are you breaking the law?
  • how would you feel if your sext was shown to someone else or leaked online?
  • are you about to make a good choice or does it fall in line with your family’s morals and expectations?
  • in general, taking some time to think about it will often help put things in to perspective.

More information about sexting can be found on the eSafety Commissioner website.

Image based abuse

Image based abuse occurs when intimate, nude or sexual images are shared without the consent of the person in the image or video. This includes real photos, altered, drawn pictures and videos. It is also image based abuse if someone threatens to share an intimate image or video of you.

Examples of image based abuse:

  • an ex-partner sharing intimate images of you on Instagram or Facebook without your consent
  • someone photoshopping an image to make you look naked and then emailing to others
  • a stranger taking intimate images of you without your consent

For more information on image based abuse including reporting and available support, head to eSafety Commissioner website.

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In your accommodation

You may think your accommodation may be one of the safest places to be at Schoolies, but it can often be the place where a lot of risk taking behaviour occurs. Below you’ll find a few key points to help keep you safe and happy in your accommodation. Let’s kick it off with two really easy tips:

  1. Read your accommodation House Rules before you head off to Schoolies. It can help you avoid any nasty surprises or possibly being evicted. Some apartments won't allow you to bring in any glass or they can outline whether you are allowed any guests in your apartment and if so, how many and at what times.
  2. Store your accommodation location in your phone. You might feel silly about dropping a pin in Google Maps or simply saving the address and contact number of where you are staying but trust us, streets can look very different in the dark.

Balcony safety

Behaving irresponsibly on balconies is extremely dangerous. You face eviction, being charged by the police and most importantly, endangering your life. Balconies can become especially dangerous after drinking alcohol or using drugs. Stay well away from balconies if you and your friends are under the influence.

Take care on balconies and remember:

  • don’t sit on, lean over, climb or hang off the side of balconies. Accidents happen - you could slip and fall
  • never ‘room hop’ or ‘balcony hop’ from balcony to balcony - one wrong move could prove fatal
  • avoid overcrowding - take it inside or head down to the Schoolies Hub
  • don’t throw objects – Schoolies is a very busy time and there may be people walking below. Objects thrown or dropped from a height can become dangerous projectiles when they reach the ground

Don't get caught up in the moment and make a silly mistake that could ruin your Schoolies, or your life.

Even if you're not doing the wrong thing, you can also be evicted if the incident occurred on your balcony.

Lift safety

It is important to remember that during Schoolies, lifts will be under more stress and demand than usual, and there is the real risk that there will be a lot of people in a lift at any one time.

Do:

  • wait for the next one if the lift is full
  • pay attention to displayed load limits and don’t overload the lift
  • stand clear of the doors.

Don’t:

  • use the lift in the event of a fire – head to the stairs instead
  • get on an overly crowded elevator – wait for the next one
  • jump up and down in lifts
  • rest on or push someone against the door.

If you get stuck in a lift:

  • use the emergency phone or alarm to get help. If you have your phone on you, call Triple Zero (000)
  • take the incident seriously - environments like this could induce or aggravate existing or underlying medical conditions such as anxiety, asthma or diabetes
  • stay in the lift – do not attempt to pry open the doors or climb out of the roof
  • stay calm and reassure anyone who is panicking.

Visitors

Different accommodation providers have different rules. Carefully consider if having visitors in your apartment is a good idea. It could be more trouble than it's worth.

  • always check your House Rules first as you may not be allowed to have visitors where you are staying
  • always seek permission from your fellow roomies before you invite someone back to your accommodation
  • trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right or you feel uncomfortable for any reason, ask your visitors to leave (e.g. suggest you all head down to the Schoolies Hub)
  • be a considerate guest when visiting other’s accommodation – treat their accommodation as you would treat yours.

Theft

You may be used to your parentals locking up the house and keeping you safe at home but during Schoolies, it’s your responsibility to take care of your valuables.

  • keep all valuables in the hotel safe
  • keep doors to connecting rooms locked at all times
  • ensure your front door always secures completely when entering or exiting the building
  • at night or when you are not in your room in general, make sure that you keep all balcony doors locked
  • don’t invite strangers in to your room (including schoolies you don’t know)
  • if you see any suspicious activity, report it to your accommodation manager immediately.

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On the go

Whether you’re travelling by bike or vehicle during Schoolies, make sure you check out our tips below, especially the laws and responsibilities that come with hiring a scooter on the Gold Coast.

Hiring a vehicle during Schoolies

When hiring a motorised scooter, moped or car during Schoolies, you will be entering in to a legal contract. It's important to know your rights to avoid any extra charges.

Before you hire, make sure your drivers licence is current. It also pays to find out where you are allowed to drive the vehicle.

Motorcycle, mopeds, motorised scooters and bicycles

  • Be aware of pedestrians – often they may not hear or see you approach them.
  • Take it easy if you're on two wheels - motorcycle/moped riders have a very high crash rate in their first years of riding, regardless of their age
  • Stay sober and stick to the speed limit
  • Respect the local community - keep horn blowing to a minimum.
  • Only ride your vehicle in the designated areas e.g. stay off the footpaths
  • Bicycles must have and use pedals as the primary source of power, whether the bicycle is standard or power assisted. The rider must pedal to propel the bicycle forward and an electric motor must only assist the rider with pedalling.
  • Bicycles with motors that operate at speeds above 25km/h are more like mopeds and motorcycles. They are only legal when they comply with Australian Design Rules and are registered for road use. Riders must wear a motorcycle helmet and must have relevant drivers licence. They also cannot be ridden on footpaths.
  • Visit Motorcycle safety for tips on how to be aware, take care and survive on your motorcycle.
If you are planning on hiring a moped and it’s fitted with pedals, it's likely it will be an illegal motorised bike or an illegal moped and cannot be used on roads or paths.

Driving

  • Don't drink and drive or get in the car with a drunk driver - you could lose your licence or your life.
  • Leave the car at home or at the party and catch a taxi, bus, tram or get a lift with a friend who has not been drinking alcohol.
  • Driving when affected by drugs is illegal and extremely dangerous as they make you drowsy, reduce your alertness, concentration and coordination.
  • If you’re on your learners or provisional licence, you must have a zero blood and breath-alcohol concentration when driving. You've only just got your licence – don't lose it at Schoolies.
  • After a big night (or week) of partying, don’t drive until you are well-rested and alert - particularly on the journey to and from Schoolies where you may be driving long distances. Take a break at least every two hours and share the driving with your mates.

Public Transport

Not only is it safe, but sometimes it’s easier to take public transport to get around during Schoolies. Grab yourself a go card and plan your journey ahead of time using the TransLink Journey Planner.

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Around water

Eat, beach, party and repeat. Sounds like a pretty good Schoolies to us!

We don't want to bang on about it but a lot of things can go wrong when you're enjoying the sun and surf, especially if you've been drinking or using drugs.

  • water and alcohol don’t mix – alcohol is a factor in 1 in 5 drownings. Had a few drinks or under the influence of drugs? Then stay out of the water (including the ocean, pools and spas)
  • swimming at night, whether it is at the beach or in a swimming pool, can be dangerous. If you get into trouble, lifeguards are not on duty and help may not arrive until it is too late.

DID YOU KNOW? The effects of alcohol increase when you are in the sun for prolonged periods of time.

Sun safety

  • Slip on clothes that will protect you from UV rays
  • Slop on sunscreen (SPF50+) 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. Reapply every two hours
  • Slap on a hat that protects your face, neck and ears from being burnt
  • Seek shade — trees, sails, beach umbrella etc

For more information, visit the Queensland Government’s sun safety website.

Surf safety

If you’re keen to check out the surf, make sure you always swim between the red and yellow flags.

Red and yellow flags aren’t the only ones you may see while at Schoolies.

 

  • A yellow flag indicates potentially dangerous conditions so be cautious.
  • A red and white chequered flag means a shark or crocodile has been sighted. Get out of the water fast!
  • A red flag means the beach is closed for swimming.
  • A blue flag shows board-riding areas for surfers.

Rips

When you’re heading back to shore, compare your distance from the beach with a landmark onshore. If you have been swimming for a while but not getting any closer to the landmark, chances are you are in a rip.

If you're caught in a rip, obey the 'Three Rs'.

  1. Relax - stay calm and float, don't swim against the current, swim across it.
  2. Raise - raise an arm to signal for help.
  3. Rescue - float and wait for assistance. Don’t panic – a lifeguard will be out as soon as possible.

For more information about beach safety visit Surf Life Saving Queensland.

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