In the Northern Territory, there is no specific law which says how old you have to be to get a tattoo or body piercing. Once you are 18, you will be able to get a tattoo, body piercing or body mark without your parent’s permission.
All tattoo and piercing parlours must follow standards set by the government. If you are under 18, these standards say that a parlour cannot give you a tattoo, a piercing on your genitals or nipples or a body mark even if you have your parent’s permission. A body mark includes branding, scarring, beading and tongue-splitting.
For simple piercings such as ear piercings, many piercing studios may still require you to get permission from your parents, especially if you are under the age of 16. It’s a good idea to get this permission in writing, and it should explain the type of tattoo or piercing, how big it is and where it’s going to be on your body.
Even if you do get permission from a parent, some tattooists and body piercers will not give you a tattoo or a piercing if you’re under 18, and others may ask you to show proof of your age, or even sign a statutory declaration (a legal document) outlining your age, and that you understand the risks involved in the procedure. As a result, it is a good idea to call the tattoo / piercing parlour you are thinking of going to and asking them what their policy is on giving tattoos or piercings to someone your age who has a parent’s consent.
Your school or workplace may have specific rules or policies about tattoos, piercings and body marks, so it’s a good idea to check these first. You must follow these rules as long as they are not unreasonable or discriminatory.
If a tattoo, piercing or body modification is part of your cultural background, for example your race, descent or ethnic heritage, then it may be unlawful discrimination for a school or workplace to ban you from having it. If you would like more information on this, check out our page on discrimination, or send us question here.
If you have any questions about getting a tattoo, piercing or other body modification, please contact us here.
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