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08.14.07

Teens to need parents consent under piercing bill

Posted in Piercing News at 5:57 am by admin

Teens to need parents consent under piercing bill

FOR teenagers, getting a note from your parents to go on a school excursion is one thing. But getting written permission to have your nipple pierced is a whole other story.

Under a controversial plan soon to come before Parliament, people under 18 would be banned from having any part of their body pierced without the written consent of their parents or guardian.

The bill, introduced by Nationals MP Damian Drum, has the backing of the Liberals and the qualified support of the Brumby Government.

Mr Drum said parents have been horrified to find their children coming home with metal rings through their lips and their tongues, which have been proven to damage teeth. He said other piercings had resulted in blood poisoning and serious infections.

Piercing studio owner Peter Sheringham said many unprincipled operators would pierce nipples and genitals of those under 18. If the parents were involved, then the operators would make sure the parents looked after the piercing, he said.

“I could pierce the tongue on a six-year-old today and it doesn’t matter who jumps up and down about it, no one can do a thing,” he said.

Mr Sheringham said his business, Piercing Urge, required teenagers aged from 16 to 18 to produce a note from parents with a phone number included. It did not perform nipple or genital piercings on anyone under 18.

Australian Medical Association president Rosanna Capolingua said she supported the concept of informed consent because there were inherent risks associated with piercing. Infection was the biggest concern, and tongue and mouth rings could cause dental damage.

But Dr Capolingua questioned whether the parent or the child would be responsible for any repercussions of a piercing performed without consent.

The Nationals and Labor are negotiating over the composition of the bill, which is to be debated in Parliament this week.

A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Government understood concerns about body piercing and was “keen to address the issue of an appropriate regulatory framework”. “There are substantial flaws in the Nationals’ current proposal and we will work through those issues over the next few months,” she said.

But Greens upper house MP Sue Pennicuik said if the point of the proposed laws was the health of young people, they should be warned of the dangers rather than being told what to do.

Opposition spokeswoman on children Andrea Coote said the Liberals would support the bill because children saw the glamour in body piercing without understanding the full health ramifications, particularly of tongue and genital piercings.

“I fully understand that this may cause some additional paperwork for communities who culturally pierce ears and noses,” she said.

The chief executive of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, Georgie Ferrari, said parental consent would not guarantee safer piercing procedures.

Elizabeth Field, 18, of Doncaster, believes the proposed law is “kind of stupid” for ear or facial piercings and an infringement on rights.

“If it is a major piercing like the tongue, the genitals or the nipples or any major surface, then there should be parental consent because you can get infections,” she said.

Sporting a ring through her lip, Ms Field said: “I’ve had a few friends go to dodgy places and they’ve got infections and had growths.”

Her mother accompanied her when she had other piercings done a few months ago, when aged 17. Her nose, eyebrow, neck and nipples were pierced.

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