RLC in the Media: More than 300 underage schoolboys stripsearched by NSW Police since 2016

Data obtained under freedom of information laws has revealed that over 300 underage boys have been subject to a police process experts say is “harmful” and “traumatic”.


The data, obtained by the Redfern Legal Centre under freedom of information laws, reveals that there have been 11,304 strip-searches conducted by police on men in NSW since 2016.

The data, first reported on by The Guardian, showed that one 11-year-old, one 12-year-old and four 13-year-old boys have been strip searched by police since 2016. Young men between 18 and 25 accounted for 42 per cent of searches.

It also found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were disproportionately represented, accounting for 10 per cent of total searches.

Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) head of police accountability Samantha Lee said the data showed there were many children in NSW who have been subjected to “invasive, traumatic and harmful” strip searches.

“Strip-searching is traumatising children of all genders and all ages,” she said.

“I have found with young male clients who have been strip searched there is a deep sense of humiliation and isolation, especially for those who have been asked to lift their testicles or made to squat.”

In August, the RLC released a report revealing the number of strip-searches conducted in NSW had increased almost 20-fold over the past 12 years, from 277 times in the 12 month to 30 November 2006 to 5483 in 2018.

The report said the law was failing to provide police with clear guidance on how to conduct a strip search respectfully, and urged more clarity on when and how police should conduct such a search.

Read the full article here (news.com.au, 9 December 2019)