RLC in the Media: Extraordinary rise in NSW police strip searches

Police strip searches are on the rise, with young people the main targets.   

Rachel Evans reports for Green Left Weekly

Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police, which was released on August 22, notes “just under half of all recorded strip searches in the 2017-18 financial year were young people aged 25 years and younger.” This included 296 children — the youngest aged 10 — many of whom were searched without an adult present, despite this being a legal requirement.

Commissioned by the Redfern Legal Centre and authored by University of NSW Law academics Dr Michael Grewcock and Dr Vicki Sentas, the report is a damning exposé of the abusive nature of police strip searches in NSW.

It comes just two months after an open letter signed by more than 50 Australian legal organisations was sent to the state government calling for reforms to NSW strip search laws. Signatories included the Aboriginal Legal Service, National Justice Project, UNSW, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Community Legal Centres NSW, Australian Lawyers Alliance, Women’s Legal Service NSW, and the Human Rights Law Centre.

The report states: “Strip searches are an ‘inherently humiliating and degrading’ violation of the right to bodily integrity for any person, and have been recognised as such by the courts.

“They have been categorised as ‘enforced nudity by the state’ and maybe experienced as a form of sexual assault.”

Read the full article here (Green Left Weekly, 30 August 2019)