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 Body piercing of young people

Body piercing, tattooing and branding young people

The provisions for body piercing, tattooing or branding a child are set out in the Children and Community Services Act 2004. The Department for Child Protection and Family Support is responsible for administering this Act.

Body piercing a child

Section104A Children and Community Services Act 2004 prohibits the piercing of a child under 18 years of age in any intimate area (genitals, nipples, anal area or perineum). A person who carries out this type of piercing on a child under the age of 18 can be fined $18,000 and imprisoned for 18 months. It is not a defence to a charge that the child, or a parent of the child, consented to the body piercing.

Additionally, a child will require the written consent of their parent for all non-intimate body piercings. Non-intimate body piercing means piercing a part of the body including the nose, tongue, face, belly button or other skin surfaces. A person who carries out this type of piercing on a child without written parental consent can be fined $12,000 and imprisoned for one year. The only circumstances where a child does not need their parent’s consent is for ear piercing if the child is aged 16 years or over.

Tattooing and branding a child

New provisions for tattooing or branding children in the Children and Community Services Act 2004 came into effect on 1 January 2016.

Children under 16 years of age are not allowed to have any part of their body tattooed or branded.  A person who tattoos or brands a child under the age of 16 years of age can be fined $12,000 and imprisoned for one year. 

Children over 16 years of age are not allowed to have any part of their body tattooed or branded unless the child’s parent has provided their written consent for a specific tattoo or brand on a specific part of the child’s body. When providing written consent, parents must:

  • describe the type of tattoo or branding that they are giving consent for; and
  • specify where the tattoo or branding is to be located on their child’s body. 

A person who tattoos or brands a child over the age of 16 years without this parental consent can be fined $12,000 and imprisoned for one year. 

A pro-forma consent form is available below.  Parents can also use pro-forma consent forms developed by tattoo businesses.

Resources:

Body Piercing a Child

Tattooing or Branding a Child

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