Stripped female inmates recount horrors of humiliation by male Adelaide cops

August 15th, 2009 - 5:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Adelaide, Aug 15 (ANI): Soon after a woman in Adelaide complained of having been stripped naked by male police officers and put into padded cells, more women have come forward with similar claims.

South Australia Police have already announced changes in how they would deal with distressed or violent prisoners.

In a controversial report, The Advertiser revealed the independent police complaints body’s “long-standing disquiet” over the practice.

But the issue was fuelled further when four more women contacted the newspaper claiming that they were humiliated by the procedure.

One woman even said that she was stripped in darkness in a cell at the Adelaide watch-house on August 13.

The new revelations coincided with an SA Police announcement that it would introduce “modesty gowns” for women and men who were stripped because they were deemed at risk of self-harm.

But SA Police Assistant Commissioner Bronwyn Killmier denied that the introduction of the heavy-duty material gowns was an admission that the practice was flawed or inhumane.

Meanwhile, the woman who sparked the outcry, Lee, said that she was delighted that the police would change their practice.

Lee said that she was stripped by three male police and two female officers after being arrested on a warrant in November 2006.

She lodged a complaint with the Police Complaints Authority, which told Commissioner Mal Hyde that it had “long-standing disquiet” over the practice.

“I am just glad this wasn’t all for nothing. It has been dragging on for so long now but now it feels like I have achieved something for other women,” Adelaide Now quoted Lee as saying.

A number of women contacted The Advertiser saying that they had been subjected to the practice.

One woman, called “Tanya”, said she was stripped after being arrested for disorderly behaviour on Thursday night.

Her friend, Les, said Tanya had been distraught and in tears when he picked her up from the Adelaide watch-house about 1am yesterday.

“She told us that two male police and one woman officer had used scissors to cut her bra and shirt off her and then held her down as they pulled off her pants and all this was happening with the lights off,” said Les.

He added: “We didn’t know this sort of thing went on and when I picked up the front page of the paper yesterday we couldn’t believe that this was going on.”

Another woman, Sharon, said that she had been held in a padded cell naked for seven hours after she was arrested in Hindley St about six years ago. (ANI)

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