Media Release: Redfern Legal Centre launches campaign to stop strip searches

On Wednesday 19 December, Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) launches ‘Safe & Sound’ – a campaign that seeks to stop the high number of police strip searches occurring in NSW, at music festivals and beyond.

Safe & Sound will kick off during the summer music festival season, seeking the support of key music industry artists. The campaign will include:

  • A website: Safeandsound.org.au
  • A Web App: ‘Music Festivals Rights Advisor’ designed to inform users about their legal rights at music festivals
  • A commissioned report into strip search laws to be prepared by two academic experts at the University of NSW Law School.

The campaign is a response to recent figures revealing a doubling of strip searches in NSW during 2016-2017, with 64 per cent of searches (prompted by drug dogs) finding nothing.1

Samatha Lee, a lawyer who heads RLC’s Police Accountability practice says, “Our service has been contacted by many people subjected to strip searches, who were left feeling humiliated, scared and traumatised. Worst of all, nothing was found on them and police failed to follow correct legal procedure.”

“The law in NSW governing the use of strip searches is vague and legalistic, making it susceptible to wide interpretation. This campaign aims to improve the law and procedures to ensure better safeguards for the public and improve guidance for police.”

“Like police, we all want young people to be safe. It is important young people feel safe to approach police if help is needed. But the overuse of strip searches is making young people feel unsafe. Safety comes from sound policing.”

Sam Lee is available for interview contact:
- Finn O’Keefe, RLC Communications Manager, 9698 7277 | finn@rlc.org.au
- Joanna Shulman, RLC CEO, 0401 933 789 | joanna@rlc.org.au
- Dr Vicki Sentas is available for interview: email v.sentas@unsw.edu.au

Follow Safe and Sound on social: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Download campaign graphics to share on social media here.

1. ABC, ‘NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge says two thirds of police strip searches come to nothing’, AAP; Dean Lewins, 13 Nov 2018.