MORE than half of all teenagers in some suburbs and country areas have reported being bullied, according to a major survey of youth wellbeing.
High numbers of young people have also admitted trying alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana.
Released yesterday, the 2010 Adolescent Community Profiles gives a snapshot of youth health and social issues for each Victorian municipality.
Bullying was a big problem in Melton, with 54 per cent saying they had experienced recent incidents.
In southeastern suburbs such as Clayton and Oakleigh the figure was around 51 per cent. The City of Bayside, which includes Brighton and Sandringham, had the lowest incidence, with less than one in three reporting recent bullying.
Smoking was popular in Whittlesea, with 53 per cent of 15-17 year olds saying they had tried it.
Teenagers in Moonee Valley, Richmond and Collingwood also had high rates of having tried smoking.
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Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said smoking rates in lower socio-economic areas were likely to be higher and children of parents who smoked were more likely to try smoking or be a smoker.
A big proportion of inner-suburban youth had tried marijuana, reaching 43 per cent in the City of Yarra.
Almost one in three 15-17-year-olds in Wodonga had also experienced the drug. More than half of 12-14-year-olds in Frankston and regional areas such as Geelong and the Central Goldfields said they had tried alcohol.
The percentage of 15-17-year-olds who had had sexual intercourse varied considerably, from around 10 per cent in Greater Dandenong to almost 40 per cent in the Geelong region.
In Latrobe City Council’s region, which includes Moe and Morwell, there was the highest rate of teenagers having babies – 28.3 babies for every 1000 people.
State Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall said the profiles identified areas of strengths and weaknesses.
“They are designed to guide decision-making across government so we can more effectively set priorities and allocate resources,” he said.
The Adolescent Community Profiles include data from the Victorian Adolescent Health and Wellbeing survey of more than 10,000 students.