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Children as young as 12 being strip searched by police in Australia

Children as young as 12 are being strip searched by police in Australia.

New figures show more than 120 girls in New South Wales have been told to remove their clothes by officers in the past three years.

At 17, one woman was forced to remove her shirt on a public street by officers. They found nothing, yet the incident continues to haunt her five years on.

"I'm still standing there, middle of the street, no shirt on in front of school friends, other friends, family - anyone that can walk past," she recalled.

"It makes me extremely uncomfortable because I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone else. I have felt so uncomfortable, I didn't even tell my parents."

In three years, 122 girls under the age of 17 were strip searched by police.

The youngest were two 12-year-olds, while eight 13-year-olds were also searched.

"In two-thirds of these strip searches, nothing was found on the young women, which means these strip searches were completely unnecessary," Redfern Legal Centre's Samantha Lee said.

The law states that police don't need parents’ consent, either, if it's deemed necessary for a child's safety or to prevent the destruction of evidence.

Police Minister David Elliott is refusing to back down, pointing to children as young as 10 being involved in terrorism.

"I've got young children and if I thought that the police felt they were at risk of doing something wrong, I'd want them strip searched," he said.

However, Greens MP David Shoebridge said it wasn't good enough.

"No child should be pulled off the street by uniformed police, taken to a secret location and then strip searched," Mr Shoebridge said. "That is about as close as you get to state-sanctioned sexual assault and it should not be happening."

While some Australians want at least a warrant to be required for a strip search to be carried out, others are pushing for the practice to be done away with completely.

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New figures show more than 120 girls in NSW have been told to remove their clothes by officers in the past three years. Source: 1 NEWS