Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

NSW music festival deaths inquiry told trauma of strip-searches similar to that of sexual assaults

NSW music festival deaths inquiry told trauma of strip-searches similar to that of sexual assaults
July 19, 2019

The Coronial inquest into the deaths of six young festivalgoers has today heard about the effects of ‘dehumanising’ body searches with a harm reduction campaigner and a criminologist saying the trauma experienced in police strip searches is akin to that suffered during sexual assaults.

Giving evidence to the inquiry today, RMIT criminology lecturer and researcher Peta Malins said the experience of being ordered to undress in front of police and accused of concealing drugs could cause long-lasting mental effects.

Malins advised “they talk about how huge the effect can be emotionally, the anxiety, the fear, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, shaking and nervousness

“They talk about how hard it was to answer the questions of the police.”

The issue of strip searches at music festivals has risen a number of times during the inquest, which is examining the deaths of six young people from MDMA toxicity at musical festivals between December 2018 and January 2019.

On Thursday, counsel assisting the coroner Peggy Dwyer advised that the inquest would seek access to NSW Police strip search protocols, saying the circumstances under which they were permitted “should be clearly understood by the families of the young people who are involved in the inquest and by the general public at large”.

However, today the Redfern Legal Centre released the results of a Freedom of Information request which suggested the protocols may not exist.

In December the legal centre requested a copy of standard operating procedures related to strip searches in NSW, but only received copies of extracts from the publicly available police code of practice and police force handbook.

In NSW, Police can carry out a strip-search in the field if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the search is necessary, and that the seriousness and urgency of the circumstances make it necessary.

However, critics of the practice say there is no detail on how police make that decision, and officers have breached their powers in the past.

Malins, who published an academic paper based on interviews with 22 people who had been searched by police, said being stopped and searched was already traumatic.

She advised that those strip-searched found it “particularly dehumanising” to be ordered to undress completely and display openings to cavities.

She stated “there was an overwhelming sense of powerlessness … a feeling as though they had been intruded upon.

“In one particular interview, the woman said the trauma triggered past experiences of sexual and physical abuse that she’d experienced.”

Will Tregoning, the founder of harm reduction organisation Unharm, said he had spoken to people who had likened their strip-searching to sexual assault.

Tregoning advised “it’s traumatic (and) my concern is it additionally trains people to not trust police.”

Tregoning said most police officers were pragmatic and held a very strong sense of social service but he said the drug searches could create a climate of fear and further barriers between young people and the police trying to keep them safe.

The Coronial inquiry was told on Thursday that police had been directed to reveal their strip-search protocols and an internal report on officers’ use and understanding of those guidelines.

Alex Ross-King, Nathan Tran, Diana Nguyen, Joseph Pham, Joshua Tam and Callum Brosnan died after consuming MDMA at NSW music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019.

With AAP.

Related Articles

17th July 2019 - Splendour in the Grass festivalgoers urged to stay safe

16th July 2019 - Music festival deaths inquest hears presence of Police dogs led to panicked drug-taking

16th July 2019 - NSW Government’s festival licensing scheme needs ‘complete overhaul’

13th July 2019 - Inquest hears of multiple failings by organisers and Police over festival drug deaths

16th June 2019 - Five charged for supplying drugs at music festival at Sydney Olympic Park

30th May 2019 - Following 2018 drug deaths Defqon.1 festival now ‘postponed indefinitely’

13th May 2019 - Sydney FC fan evicted from A-League finals game over disabled daughter’s bathroom access

30th April 2019 - Pill testing saves lives at ACT’s Groovin the Moo festival

13th May 2019 - Action on festival regulations welcomed by Live music industry coalition

20th January 2019 - NSW Government to require licensing of music festivals after drug deaths

16th September 2018 - NSW Premier vows to ban Sydney music festival after drug deaths


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues

 
 

Hadley/Series Australia Pty Ltd

Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…

read more

Arts / Culture / Design / Entertainment / Venues

 
 

Vticket

Vticket Pty Ltd is the Australian and New Zealand distributor for Gateway Ticketing Systems Inc., the world leader in high-speed access control, admission control and ticketing software for the…

read more

Attractions / Security / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

Crystal Pools

Crystal Pools has a solid history of performance on a wide variety of government and commercial projects and is the name behind many of Australia’s most innovative and ambitious aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Design

 
 

QUAYCLEAN

Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues

 
 

AUSTRALIAN WATERSLIDES AND LEISURE

A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks

 
 

Australian Innovative Systems

Australian Innovative Systems (AISystems) is a multi-award winning, Australian owned leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators and water…

read more

Aquatics / Safety / Technology

 
 

INTELLIGENZ

Recreation Management Software for managing all your program registrations, facility bookings, membership pass sales and Point of Sale; including detailed reporting, automated customer communication…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business