Tattoos & Piercing

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When can I get a tattoo, piercing or other body modification?

  • Tattoos and other body marks (branding, beading, tongue splitting and scarring): you can only get a tattoo or body mark if you are 18 or over.
  • Piercings: if you’re under 16, you can only get a piercing if you have written permission from your parents BUT if you want a piercing in a private place (like your genitals or nipples), you have to wait till you’re 18 even if you have permission.  
  • At school and work: 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.
  • Watch out for Infections! Remember to protect yourself from diseases by going to a registered parlour with someone who is trained and hygienic!

Tattoos and other body marks

In Victoria you need to be 18 to get a tattoo or other body mark. Other body marks are beading, branding, scarring and tongue splitting. It’s against the law for someone to tattoo you or make a body mark on you if you are under 18, even if you have your parent’s permission.

Body piercings

You need to be 16 to get most piercings in Victoria. If you’re under 16 and want a piercing that is not in a private place (e.g. your genitals or nipples), you’ll need your parent’s written permission. Your parent will have to come with you when you get the piercing done and give the body piercer their written permission. Your parent’s must explain the number of piercings you will be getting and where they are going to be on your body.    

If you want a piercing on your genitals or nipples), you have to wait until you’re 18. You can’t get this done even with your parent’s permission when you are under 18.  

Piercing policies

Even if you do get permission from a parent, some body piercers will not give you 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 piercing parlour you are thinking of going to and ask them what their policy is on giving piercings to someone your age.

Having tattoos, piercings and body modifications at school or work

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 contact us here.

Before you get a tattoo, branding or piercing

  • Do you want it forever? – remember, tattoos and other markings are permanent.  It is important to think about whether you want a tattoo or other mark for the rest of your life. Also, keep in mind that tattoos and piercings can be painful to get and that piercings can leave scars or holes even when you take the jewellery out.
  • Staying safe – when you get a tattoo or piercing, there is always a risk of getting a blood-borne disease like Hepatitis C or B, HIV or a bacterial infection. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to always go to a professional tattoo artist and piercer. Also, you should make sure that the tattoo studio is safe and hygienic and that all tools are sterilised. This means that you should avoid home tattoo or piercing parlours, or DIY kits (even if your friend is the one doing it!).  All tattoo and piercing parlours in Victoria have to be registered with their local council, so it is a good idea to make sure the place is registered before getting anything done.  Tattoo parlours and piercing studios in Victoria must also follow infection control measures set by the government in special guidelines.

If you have any questions about getting a tattoo, piercing or other body modification, please contact us here.

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