An Adelaide University Professor recently conducted a study which found that a male who had a Ned Kelly inspired tattoo, were nearly eight times more likely to have been murdered. Furthermore, men with Kelly-esque tattoos also had a suicide rate 2.7 times greater than other males between the ages of 20-67. So out of curiosity, we here at FindLaw decided to explore the Summary Offences Act of a number of States to see what laws were out there in regards to tattoos. Curious at what they are? So were we.
Tattooing a minor is a big no-no
The Summary Offences Act of both Queensland and Victoria expressly prohibits the tattooing of minors – which makes sense.
Interestingly, Victoria’s laws go much further in defining what behaviours are illegal, and move beyond the mere act of tattooing. While the Queensland law, the definition of tattooing is more traditional compared to Victoria’s more expansive laws, which also makes it illegal to ‘bead’ or ‘brand’ a minor. What exactly is ‘beading’ or ‘branding’? Allow s 42 of Victoria’s Act to illuminate you:
“beading means the cutting of the skin of a person and the insertion of an object beneath the skin to produce a lump; branding means the application of heat, cold or a substance to the skin of a person to produce scar tissue; like process includes scarification, tongue splitting, branding and beading; person means a living human being; scarification means the cutting of the skin of a person to create scar tissue; tongue splitting means the cutting of the tongue of a person to divide the tongue, or part of the tongue, into 2 or more segments.”
The maximum penalty for illegally tattooing a minor in Queensland is $4000 or six months in prison, while in Victoria, it’s $7167, but perhaps a little surprisingly, imprisonment does not appear to be a sentencing option.
What about piercings?
The other law that caught our eye (mainly because it was next to the tattoo laws) was in regards to the piercing of minors. In Victoria, a person under the age of 16 must have parental consent to get a piercing, while in Queensland, the law is more interested with outlawing ‘intimate body piercings’ which are piercings:
“… on the genitalia, anal region, perineum or nipples of a person under the age of 18 years, whether or not consent has been given to the body piercing.”
It should be noted that Victoria does also make it illegal to pierce an intimate body part of a minor.
It’s understandable that there are laws to prevent minors from getting weird piercings or tattoos. They’re actually probably better off that such laws exist if the findings of the Adelaide University study is anything to go by. Because if an underage male goes out and gets a Ned Kelly inspired tattoo, they’re more likely to meet a grisly end. Yikes!