When you want to get pierced it’s important to realise that you have certain rights. These rights include some basic matters you should be able to expect from your piercer and from the studio at which you’re getting the piercing done. The APP Benelux has formalized these rights in a code of conduct agreement that all members have signed, in addition to our minimum membership requirements to help ensure your rights in all APP Benelux certified studios. 

In our opinion, safe body piercing starts with proper hygiene and safe materials for piercing jewellery, yet also includes creating a safe and respectful environment for you, the customer. If you feel your piercer does not respect your rights as listed below know that you have the right at all times to stop the procedure and walk away.


  1. To be pierced in a hygienic environment by a clean, conscientious, sober piercer wearing a fresh pair of disposable medical examination gloves.
  2. To be pierced with a brand new, completely sterilized single-use needle that is immediately disposed of in a medical Sharps container after use on one piercing.
  3. To be touched only with freshly sterilized and appropriate implements, properly used and disposed of or re-sterilized (where appropriate) in an autoclave prior to use on anyone else.
  4. To know that piercing guns are NEVER appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything — including earlobes.
  5. To the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their piercer knows and practices the very highest standards of sterilization and hygiene.
  6. To have a knowledgeable piercer evaluate and discuss appropriate piercings and jewelry for all risks and possible complications involved in their piercing choice before making any decisions.
  7. To seek and receive a second opinion either from another piercer within the studio or from another studio.
  8. To have initial piercings fitted with jewelry of appropriate size, material, design, and construction to best promote healing. Gold-plated, gold-filled or sterling silver jewelry is never appropriate for any new or healing piercing.
  9. To see pictures, be given a tour of the piercing studio, and to have all questions fully and politely answered before making or following through on any decision.
  10. To be fully informed about proper aftercare, both verbally and in writing, and a follow-up after care process with the piercer throughout the healing process.
  11. To be treated with respect, tact, sensibility and knowledge, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, health status or piercing choice.
  12. To change their mind, request a cease of the procedure and the right to leave at any point if the situation seems uncomfortable or inappropriate.

Harassment and sexual harassment

Harassment includes (but is not limited to) all action, behaviour, signs and words that are meant to annoy, threaten and intimidate, or in any other way make you uncomfortable or worse, fear for your safety. The difference with having an argument is that harassment is often repetitive (it happens again and again). Harassment can (but is not limited to) be based on a discriminatory ground like race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. 

When the actions, behaviour, signs and or words of the aggressor are of a sexual nature, we speak of sexual harassment. This includes (but is not limited to) things like touching, offering or requesting unwanted sexual favors, remarks about your body, gender, clothing, etc. that are of a sexual nature. Also advances made through social media that are of a sexual nature are a form of sexual harassment. 

The APP Benelux takes a strong stance against harassment of any kind. Our policies reflect our stance on these topics and are designed to help make the piercing industry safe and inclusive for everyone. 

When your rights are infringed

Sadly, it still happens that people’s basic rights are infringed and the piercing industry is no exception to this. The APP Benelux would like to help combat this by giving clear information about your rights and to provide you with options in case you do find your rights are infringed. 

What can we do

The APP Benelux is limited by the goals of our mission statement in our abilities to act on complaints or accusations. As dictated in our by laws we are dedicated to spreading information regarding safety and our main way of acting against (sexual) harassment is by providing you with relevant information. We do however reserve the right to:

  • Approve or decline new memberships
  • Suspend or expel current members
  • Enforce other disciplinary measures against our members including (but not limited to) loss of position within the organisation and suspension of membership.
  • Refuse attendance at APP Benelux events
  • Approve or decline sponsorships
  • Suspend or terminate sponsorships

What you can do

Should you find that an APP Benelux member is involved we ask you to contact us so we can act. If you want to file a complaint against one of our members we ask that you contact us through president@appbenelux.org where we will review your case. Please give us as much information regarding your complaint as possible. You might be asked to provide a written testimony or additional information. Know that your complaint will be handled with strict confidentiality and you will be kept up to date on any progress and outcomes. 

Sexual harassment is often difficult to prove and therefore, difficult to prosecute. One thing that you can do when you find your current piercer is prone to this type of harassment is to simply find another. Luckily there are a lot of piercers of all genders who take a strong stance against this type of behaviour and who will be happy to provide you with the safe experience you need. Remember, sexual remarks before, during, or after the piercing procedure, on social media, or anywhere else, is NOT acceptable behaviour for any professional.

Should you find your right violated by non APP Benelux members, or should you find yourself a victim of criminal acts or sexual harassment we advise you to also contact one of these organisations:

For the Benelux:

In any case we advise that you contact the local police department if you are the victim of any criminal acts. The police have the power to investigate and prosecute people who broke the law while infringing your rights.

For the Netherlands:

Slachtofferhulp Nederland is the organisation in the Netherlands that provides legal, practical and emotional support to victims of crimes and accidents including harassment and sexual harassment. You can contact them through their website:


For Belgium:

If you are the victim of crimes or accidents including harassment and sexual harassment you can contact the governmental organisations through the following link: 


For Luxembourg:

If you are the victim of crimes or accidents including harassment and sexual harassment you can contact the governmental organisations through the following link:



What we cannot do

Our means to act as an organisation are limited to the APP Benelux. That means we have no means of enforcing our policies on non members and people outside the organisation. If you feel your rights have been violated by people unaffiliated to the APP Benelux consider other resources or legal options available. Some (but not all) examples of what the APP Benelux cannot do:

  • Prevent an individual from being a piercer
  • Forward reports to the police, or other authorities, on behalf of the complainant
  • Prevent an individual from contacting the complainant
  • Take action 
  • In place of the proper authorities, particularly when someone is in imminent danger
  • On secondhand information
  • Without the complainant‘s permission
  • Without investigating and finding supportable facts
  • On solely anonymous reports
  • Publicly discuss allegations, investigation(s), or resulting disciplinary actions