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Parental permission needed for underage piercing

Posted in Piercing News at 8:05 am by admin

Parental permission needed for underage piercingCHILD experts and Melbourne teens say a proposed law banning underage body piercing without parent consent is too harsh.

Under the proposal, people under 18 would be banned from having any part of their body pierced without written parental consent.

The piercing industry has supported the proposal, saying it would stamp out shonky operators and protect children.
But experts say it would rob teens of their rights, and that 16 was a more realistic age of consent for piercings.

It comes as the State Government this week announced it will ban anyone under 16 from using solariums, after skin cancer patient Clare Oliver’s spoke out.

Nationals MP Damian Drum, who introduced the piercing Bill, said there was no law already governing the piercing industry.

“If a 10-year-old presents themselves at a salon, the salon decides if they do the piercing,” Mr Drum said.

“Parents are concerned that they are losing a grip on any of these decisions that determine their children’s health. “(Piercing) does create dangers of infection and dental damage.”

But Australian Childhood Foundation CEO Dr Joe Tucci said it would make more sense to ban those 16 and under from body piercings.

RMIT University professor of youth studies and sociology Judith Bessant said teens had the right to make judgments about their bodies.

“If they’ve got unprofessional practitioners, then they need to focus their attention on that. They should go for the practitioners, not the young people,” Prof Bessant said.

“I think we need to respect the rights of young people, and those rights include some degree of self-determination.”

Gladstone Park year 10 student Paul Serafin, 16, said piercing was a form of self-expression and the proposal was a threat to his rights.

“To take that away from us is extreme,” he said.

“I think it’s harsh because ear piercing is very standard, very common,” he said.

Broadmeadows student Bianca Baptista, 17, said she had the right to say what she could do to her own body.

Mentone teen Peter Alexander, who has stretched earlobes, said the law was too harsh.

East Burwood teen Sarina Taranto, who has 19 piercings, welcomed the proposal.

“I think it’s a good idea, because there are a lot of really bad places who take advantage of their position,” she said.

Peter Sheringham, who owns Prahran studio The Piercing Urge, said the proposed law was not about banning kids, but about involving parents.

“It’s about consent and informed consent,” he said.

“It’s all about looking after the kids.”

Mr Sheringham said he had seen children as young as 11 wanting “all kinds of piercings”, sometimes with their mothers in tow.

“That to me is wrong and scary,” he said.

Mr Sheringham said he did not pierce anyone under 18 without parental consent, and demands a parent be present when piercing under-16s.

A spokesman for Attorney-General Rob Hulls said the Government was aware of the Nationals’ proposal, but believed it had flaws “and we will work through those issues over the next few months”.


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