Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Strip Search Definition:

The removal of all or part of an individual's clothing so as to visually inspect private areas or undergarments.

Related Terms: Search, Search Warrant

In R v Golden, at ¶47 and 87, Canada's Supreme Court wrote:

"Strip search is properly defined as ... the removal or rearrangement of some or all of the clothing of a person so as to permit a visual inspection of a person’s private areas, namely genitals, buttocks, breasts (in the case of a female), or undergarments. This definition in essence reflects the definition of a strip search that has been adopted in various statutory materials and policy manuals in Canada and other jurisdictions.

"This definition distinguishes strip searches from less intrusive frisk or pat-down searches, which do not involve the removal of clothing, and from more intrusive body cavity searches, which involve a physical inspection of the detainee’s genital or anal regions. While the mouth is a body cavity, it is not encompassed by the term body cavity search. Searches of the mouth do not involve the same privacy concerns, although they may raise other health concerns for both the detainee and for those conducting the search.

"They represent a significant invasion of privacy and are often a humiliating, degrading and traumatic experience for individuals subject to them. Clearly, the negative effects of a strip search can be minimized by the way in which they are carried out, but even the most sensitively conducted strip search is highly intrusive."

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