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Sexual abuse during strip searches: your rights

3 minute read

Survivors of abuse

Children as young as 13 are suffering from sexual abuse while detained in Australia’s juvenile justice system.

Rather than being rehabilitated, these young people's’ time in juvenile detention can leave them with life-long trauma.

It is our responsibility to ensure legislation is implemented and abided by to protect the rights of young Australians in detention.

Juvenile detention strip search case

For more than 30 years Shine Lawyers’ Abuse Law practice has represented survivors of sexual abuse, including many whose lives were ruined due to historical juvenile detention centre abuse.

We are currently representing a client, now 20 years old, who was abused during his imprisonment in juvenile detention. He was excessively strip-searched by guards, with nearly all the searches being performed without any suspicion of contraband or any other reason. He was often asked to remove all his clothing, despite the legislation outlining that only one piece of clothing can be legally removed at a time.

Another of our clients, now aged 25, suffered severe sexual abuse in a NSW juvenile detention centre. He was the victim of multiple instances of digital penetration, forced oral sex and anal rape at the hands of prison guards. As a result, our client is now forced to deal with severe psychological trauma and has twice attempted to take his own life.

Survivors of abuse may be affected by their ordeal for the remainder of their lives. It can often impact their health, ability to work and even form friendships or relationships. Successful abuse claims have provided our clients with much-needed medical and financial support.

Strip searches violating international law

International law prohibits routine strip searches of children, yet most Australian jurisdictions do not have laws to this effect.

Even when new legislative provisions have been introduced to protect detainees, a recent report into NSW detention facilities found three had largely failed to implement the procedures.

Measures like requiring strip searches only as a last resort as well as introducing airport-style body scanners could significantly reduce the sexual abuse these young, vulnerable Australians are experiencing.

Strip search abuse claims — how Shine can help

If you or a loved one has been abused in juvenile detention, we may be able to help. We know from experience the respectful, empathetic approach is best suited to these types of claims. Our Abuse Law practice runs on a No Win No Fee basis* and we represent people whatever their financial situation.

*Conditions apply

If you’d like to speak confidentially to one of our Abuse Law experts, contact us online.

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