Strip Searching Women Prisoners

Latest News

Female inmate strip-searched in front of male inmates and staff at a Canberra jail (January 2021)

Australia: Strip searching women is routine in Australian prisons (November 2020)
Police had ‘no idea’ about strip search laws, watchdog finds (May 2020)
Report: Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police
Strip searching practices in Western Australian prisons (March 2019)
Report: Inspection of Mary Wade Correctional Centre, by Inspector of Custodial Services
Custodial Operations Policy and Procedures: Searching Inmates

Overview

Pursuant to The Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW), police are entitled with the power to strip-search a person. Conducting such a search is degrading, humiliating and a violation to the right of bodily integrity. The current legislation allows the conduction of such searches if it is reasonable to do so. However the criteria to meet ‘reasonableness’ is relatively undefined. This wide discretion allows for inconsistent interpretation which leads to the arbitrary use of the power. However, there are sufficient alternatives to strip searching, including Portable and Full body x-ray scanners. Opting to such alternatives would prevent the distress and harm caused to prisoners.

Strip Searching Women Prisoners

Latest News

Sign this Petition to End Strip Searches
Parliament Amends Law for Strip Searches
Ban Strip Searches NSW Coalition – Protest (November 2020)
State-Sanctioned Sexual Assault: The Rally to Ban Strip Searches at Silverwater Gaol
Australia: Strip Searching Women is Routine in Australian Prisons (November 2020)
Police Had ‘No Idea’ About Strip Search Laws, Watchdog Finds (May 2020)
Report: Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police
Strip Searching Practices in Western Australian Prisons (March 2019)
Report: Inspection of Mary Wade Correctional Centre, by Inspector of Custodial Services
Custodial Operations Policy and Procedures: Searching Inmates

Contents

  1. Purpose of Strip-Searches
  2. Effect of Strip-Searches
  3. Current Law and Existing Limitations
  4. Our Demands

Overview

Pursuant to the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (‘LEPRA’), police are entitled with the power to strip-search a person. Strip-searches are degrading, humiliating, violate the right of bodily integrity and contravene Australia’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). Searches of this kind are routinely conducted in prisons, music festivals and on the streets.

Related Resources

Steven Caruana in Gregoire, P 2020, ‘Strip Searching Women is Routine in Australia’, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 4 November, viewed 9 November 2020, https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/strip-searching-women-is-routine-in-australia/;

Gregoire P 2020, ‘State-Sanctioned Sexual Assault: The Rally to Ban Strip Searches at Silverwater Gaol’, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 20 November, viewed 20 November 2020, < https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/state-sanctioned-sexual-assault-the-rally-to-ban-strip-searches-at-silverwater-gaol/;

Human Rights Law Centre, Total Control: Ending The Routine Strip Searching Of Women In Victoria’s Prisons (Report, 2017) 20 < https://static1.squarespace.com/static/580025f66b8f5b2dabbe4291/t/5a287bb50d9297f066fd588d/1512602586016/TC+Report_Online.pdf>. 

Women in Prison Advocacy Network (2015), “Ceremonies of Degradation: Strip-Searching in Women’s Prisons”, Issue 9, Court of Conscience 8, 9 < http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UNSWLawSocCConsc/2015/2.pdf;

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