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3.2.1 Body piercing, tattooing and branding

Last Modified: 28-Jun-2018 Review Date: 01-Oct-2016

Purpose

To provide information to child protection workers on the consent procedures required when a child in the CEO's care wants to obtain a body piercing, tattoo or branding.

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (Communities).

Practice Requirements

  • To seek approval for body piercing for a child in the CEO’s care, child protection workers must provide a written submission and the assistant district director or ​​district director must give written consent. The only exception is ear piercing for a child who has reached 16 years of age, as legislation does not require written consent.
  • To seek approval for tattooing or branding for a child in the CEO’s care, child protection workers must provide a written submission to the Executive Director. The Executive Director must give consent in writing - this must also include a description of the type of tattoo or branding, and where it is to be situated on the child’s body.
  • All reports of tattooing, branding and non-intimate body piercing of a child in the CEO’s care without the required approval, must be referred immediately to Central Intake: 1800 273 889 or email cpduty@cpfs.wa.gov.au (also refer to Chapter 2.2: Assessment and investigation processes).

Procedures

  • Overview
  • Considerations for approval
  • Approval
  • Further information
  • Overview

    Section 103 and 104A of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 prohibits body piercing, tattooing and branding without appropriate consents. Intimate body piercing (genitals, anal area, perineum and nipples) is prohibited for children less than 18 years of age, irrespective of parental consent under s.104A(2). For further information see Chapter 2.2: Assessment and investigation processes.

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    Considerations for approval

    In seeking approval for body piercing, tattooing or branding for a child in the CEO’s care, child protection workers must provide a written submission to the assistant district director, district director or Executive Director, as detailed in the related resource Body Piercing, Tattooing and Branding: Checklist for Staff.

    Generally, submissions for tattooing and branding for a child in the CEO’s care will not be approved due to the permanent nature of tattooing and branding and the difficulty in removing them later in life (with removal resulting in scarring). Requests for tattooing and branding will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

    Child protection workers must confirm (with the environmental health officer of the local council) that the body piercer or tattoo artist (and person piercing ears when this is being considered) are registered with the council and there are no current concerns regarding the business complying with the Health (Skin Penetration Procedure) Regulations 1998.

    There are many health risks associated with body piercing, tattooing and branding. Blood borne infections may occur if it is not performed in a safe and sterile manner. For further information about blood borne infections see Department of Health website: Body Art.

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    Approval

    After approving the written submission:

    • the assistant district director/​​district director must complete the consent form for a piercing (see related resources), or
    • the Executive Director must sign a letter of consent for a tattoo or branding (letter to be drafted by child protection worker).

    As businesses have a responsibility to check the validity of the consent, the child protection worker’s contact details must be noted on the consent form.

    The relevant approval must be recorded on the Child History File on Assist.

    If consent is not given, the child protection worker should discuss the reason with the child in care, as well as the child’s parent’s and/or carer as appropriate. Details must be recorded.

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    Further information

    Additional information regarding body piercing, tattooing and branding of children is available under:

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