According to domestic abuse campaigners the strip search of a Black schoolgirl was "sexual assault".

The 15-year-old was pulled out of an exam for the search, which has also been condemned by Hackney MP Diane Abbott, as racist. Sistah Space, Ngozi Fulani, the CEO of charity said: "Everybody involved should face charges.


Teachers called the Met Police after wrongly suspecting her of carrying cannabis in 2020. They (the Met) since apologised for the incident at a secondary school in Hackney, in London. A safeguarding report found the search, without another adult present, was unjustified, with racism a likely factor.

Ms Fulani said: "This is child abuse, this is sexual assault. There are so many things wrapped up in this and they're not going to put this in a tidy box and make it go away."

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbot said that the strip search had made sickened her, as a mother, and that racism absolutely played a part. "The Met Police is not going into private schools and asking white girls to spread their buttock cheeks," she said.

The report states that in 2020-2021, there were 25 searches of under-18s in the same borough. Ms Abbott said: "Only two of those 25 under-18 searches were white, the figures tell you this is about race."

During the incident, the girl was taken to the school's medical room and strip-searched by two female Met police officers, while teachers remained outside. Her parents were not contacted.

Her intimate body parts were exposed and she was made to take off her sanitary towel, according to the review. No drugs were found.

The victim - referred to as Child Q - told the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review: "On top of preparing for the most important exams of my life, I can't go a single day without wanting to scream, shout, cry or just give up." The girl's maternal aunt was quoted as saying the pupil had changed from top of the class to a shell of her former bubbly self, adding that she was now self-harming and requires therapy.

Children's Commissioner Rachel De Souza said: “I wanted to speak to the victim to stop this happening ever again.” She has also written to the Met, adding: "Sorry means behaviour has to change".

Scotland Yard said that the search should never have happened and an investigation had now been launched by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. Det Supt Dan Rutland, of the Met's Central East Command, said: "We recognise that the findings of the safeguarding review reflect this incident should never have happened.

He apologised on behalf of the Met Police to the child concerned, her family and the wider community. He said that it was wholly right that the actions of officers are held to account.