TOUGH new regulations on body piercings are needed to curb piercings on children that occur without the knowledge of parents, a state MP has warned.
Liberal MP David Hodgett has called for an immediate overhaul of body piercing laws in Victoria. He wants strict guidelines that force children to have parental consent before they can have any part of their body pierced, including ears.
“Currently there is an age limit for tattooing, and it is an offence to tattoo someone under the age of 18,” Mr Hodgett told State Parliament.
“However, the same does not apply to skin-penetration procedures such as body piercing, except for the piercing of the genital area in both males and females.”
Mr Hodgett will write to the Health Minister and Attorney-General tomorrow, requesting laws that require people under the age of 18 to have parental consent before any body piercing is performed.
Mr Hodgett said that while earlobe piercing was not of great concern, all piercings for people under the age of 18 should have parental consent.
“While we are not trying to be too restrictive on earlobe piercing, it seems a lot simpler to say anyone who is a minor should have parental consent before they have body piercing,” he said.
Tim Pigot, spokesman for Health Minister Bronwyn Pike, said the Government would talk to police about whether laws relating to body piercing for minors needed to be tightened.
“There are existing guidelines that govern genital piercings that require consent for minors and refer operators to the relevant sections of the Crimes Act,” he said.
“However, there are complex legal issues surrounding genital piercings of minors, and we will discuss these with police to determine whether existing tattoo and piercing laws need to be expanded.”
Mr Hodgett said some people in the industry “did the right thing” when it came to body piercing and minors but said mandatory legislation was required.
“I call for legislation requiring mandatory parental consent for minors wishing to have body piercing, as is the case in NSW,” he said.
“Legislation would flush out the operators who do not apply restrictions and ensure that children are protected from the risk of serious infection, scarring and other health implications.”
He said parental consent would ensure parents were involved in the decision-making process. “It can prevent spur-of-the moment decisions, and it can reduce peer pressure,” Mr Hodgett said.