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Tattooing, body modification and body piercing

Part 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) regulates body piercing and body modification such as tattooing:

Except where the tattoo is made for medical reasons and is performed or administrated by a doctor, nurse or dentist, it is an offence to perform a body modification procedure on a person under the age of 18 [s 21R]. It is also an offence to perform such a procedure on an intoxicated person [s 21Q]. However, it is a defence to a charge if the person performing the procedure can prove that at the time of the offence, they actually believed, and had reasonable cause to believe, that the person, for s 21R, was an adult; or for s 21Q, was not intoxicated.

Maximum penalty: $5 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment

Body modification procedure means—

  • tattooing; and
  • body branding; and
  • body implantation; and
  • earlobe stretching; and
  • tongue splitting; and
  • body scarification; and
  • any other procedure prescribed

    [Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 21P]

A person must not sell body modification equipment (for example, ear stretching tapers) to a person under the age of 18 [s 21T].

Maximum penalty: $2 500 fine

A person must not perform any intimate body piercing on a person under the age of 18, or any other body piercing on a person under the age of 16 without first obtaining the consent of the minor’s guardian [s 21R(2)(b)].

Maximum penalty: $5 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment

Consent, referred to above, for under 16 year olds, must be given in person or in writing, in the prescribed form, verified by statutory declaration [s 21S(1)(b)(ii)].

Maximum penalty: $5 000, Expiation fee: $315

Providing false information about age or consent of a minor or guardian is also an offence under the Act [s 21W].

Maximum penalty: $2 500

The Act requires those who offer piercing and body modification services for sale to display prescribed information [s 21U] and to keep records [s 21 V].

Maximum penalty: $1 250, Expiation fee: $160

Prescribed information is set out in the Summary Offences Regulations 2016 (SA).

Offences against public order and similar offences  :  Last Revised: Thu Jul 31st 2014
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