Tattoos and Piercings

When can I get a tattoo or body piercing?



In Victoria the legal age you can get a tattoo at is 18. If you are under 18, it is a criminal offence for someone to tattoo you or make a permanent mark or design on your skin. It does not matter if you have parental permission. 


Scarification, Branding and Beading

You must also be 18 to have any other mark made on your skin such as branding, scarification or beading.


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.

If you are under 16 you need the permission of your parent or carer to have a non-intimate body piercing. Your parent can give their permission in person by going with you or in writing (it must say what part of your body is to be pierced).

If you are over 10 years of age you must also give your consent in writing.


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 gives 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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