Tattoos and Piercings

 

When can I get a tattoo or a body piercing?

 

Tattoos

In Queensland the legal age you can get a tattoo is 18. If you are under 18 it is a criminal offence for someone to tattoo you. It does not matter if you have parental permission.

 

Body Piercing

 

Non-intimate body piercing

A non-intimate body piercing is a piercing of any part of your body that isn't your genitals or nipples. Genitals mean the anus, scrotum, penis and vagina.

There is no law which says how old you have to be to get a non-intimate body piercing. If you are under 18 it will depend on whether you are able to give valid consent.

 

When can I give my consent?

There is no fixed age at which you can consent before you turn 18. It always depends on whether the piercer thinks you fully understand what is involved. In deciding whether or not you understand the piercer will need to consider:

  • your age and maturity
  • the type of piercings and where you want them
  • whether you understand the long term impact of the piercing, what it involves, and things that might go wrong (like side-effects from infections, or other complications)

In practice, piercing studios may still require parental permission.

 

Intimate Body Piercing

An intimate body piercing is a piercing of the nipples or genitals.

If you are under 18 a body piercer is not allowed to give you an intimate body piercing even if you or your parent give permission for it.

 

Before you get a Tattoo, Branding or Piercing

It is important to be sure that you want a tattoo for the rest of your life, because a tattoo is permanent. Also, a piercing may leave scars or holes long after you stop wearing the jewellery.

There is a risk that you can get a disease like Hepatitis C or B, HIV or a bacterial infection. It is always best to make sure that you go to a professional tattoo artist and that the place is safe and hygienic and all tools sterilised. Don't get a 'backyard' or 'tattoo party' tattoo - the risk is just too great!

Because of the permanence of tattoos, scars, brands, beads and the sensitivities around piercings, many tattooists or body piercers will not do this work on anyone under 18, or may require proof of age and even the signing of a statutory declaration (a legal document) in addition to legally correct parental permission before doing any work on a young person they suspect might be under 18.

 

The content on this page was last updated on 15 June 2012


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