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Teenage girl, 16, reveals how she was ‘completely humiliated’ when she was forced to strip and squat

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Girl, 16, reveals how she was ‘completely humiliated’ when she was forced to strip and squat by police during search for drugs at Splendour in the Grass

  • The girl, then 16, described her horror as she was lead in to the police search tent
  • She thought she’d get a pat-down, until she was asked to remove all her clothes
  • The girl said she was wearing a panty liner at the time and had to hand it to police
  • It was reported that seven minors were strip searched at the 2018 all-ages event

A young girl who said she was forced to strip and show her pantyliner to police after a false drug detection at a music festival has spoken about her humiliation.

The teenager, then 16, attended the Splendour in the Grass music festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales, last year when she was flagged by police sniffer dogs at the festival entrance.

The girl said at an inquiry she felt ‘completely humiliated’ by the experience and ‘couldn’t stop crying’ as she was forced to strip naked in front of authorities.

The teenager, then 16, attended the Splendour in the Grass music festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales (pictured: Splendour in the Grass 2019)

The teenager, then 16, attended the Splendour in the Grass music festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales (pictured: Splendour in the Grass 2019)

‘I was really scared because I didn’t have any drugs on me and I was completely alone,’ she admitted, explaining the police wouldn’t let her answer her phone or call friends or family members.

She said she started to cry, and described the moment a police officer led her into a tent, put on blue gloves, and instructed her to move to the corner for ‘more privacy’.

While she initially thought the officer was going to give her a pat down, panic set in when she was asked to remove her lace leotard. 

‘I pulled my leotard down to my waist. The police officer then told me to take everything off, including my underwear,’ she told the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

The girl said at an inquiry that she felt 'completely humiliated' by the experience and 'couldn't stop crying' as she was forced to strip naked in front of authorities (pictured: sniffer dogs at a music festival)

The girl said at an inquiry that she felt ‘completely humiliated’ by the experience and ‘couldn’t stop crying’ as she was forced to strip naked in front of authorities (pictured: sniffer dogs at a music festival)

‘At that point, I realised I was going to have to get naked in front of this police officer. I could not believe that this was happening to me. I could not stop crying.’

The schoolgirl said she had a pantyliner in her underwear.

She was told to remove it and hand it to police to inspect.

After being told to squat, she said the police officer also squatted down and looked underneath her.

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After the search produced no results, the officer told her to get dressed and head back to the festival.

‘I was extremely upset. I was sobbing. I sat with my friend trying to calm down. I did not stop crying.’

After being told to squat, she said the police officer also squatted down and looked underneath her (pictured: a sniffer dog)

After being told to squat, she said the police officer also squatted down and looked underneath her (pictured: a sniffer dog)

The girl shared her shock, claiming she was scared to make eye contact with a police officer at the festival for the remaining three days of the festival.

She described how difficult it would be for her to report an actual issue to police at the festival if necessary.

Under NSW law, police are not allowed to carry out a field strip search unless the situation is classified as urgent. 

If a strip search is conducted on a minor, a parent or guardian must be present unless it’s necessary to protect the person.

The inquiry revealed seven minors were strip searched at the 2018 all-ages event. 

Of the 143 strip searches conducted on festival goers, 90 per cent were false detections. 

The inquiry continues.

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