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The institutional sexual assault of prison staff

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh

05 February 2023

Limerick Women's Prison.

The recent cases in Scotland have focused attention on the holding of sexual offenders in the female estate or their request for transfers there.  The issue became so public and clear that the reactionary First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon was forced to do a U-turn on the slogan Trans Women are Women and say well yes, they are but not this one, nor that one either and let’s press the pause button to think of a way out of this woke mess we have got ourselves into.

Another issue related to this has also arisen and it is one that is present in Irish prisons too: that is the institutional sexual assault of female staff at the prisons.  It was revealed that, unsurprisingly the rapist Andrew Burns under the guise of Tiffany Scott (formerly the Mighty Almighty) has the right to demand that he be searched by staff of the “gender” i.e. the sex he chooses.  It is normal and correct that prison staff, police etc, cannot abuse their position and force women to submit to a body search by males.  This is particularly the case when it comes to strip searches, which are common for prisoners entering and leaving a prison for court hearings.  Now, however the reverse is happening.  Female prison staff at the male prison where the rapist Burns is held have been ordered to search him, including participating in strip searches of this man.(1) This has provoked some outcry in Britain, following from Nicola Sturgeon’s pathetic handling of the issue based around her mantras that transwomen are women, something she no longer believes is the case, in relation to certain sex offenders.

What is less clear in the regulations, though clear enough if we apply common sense, is what happens when a trans identifies as a woman.  Who searches him?  Well in Scotland, Ireland and a number of other jurisdictions, it is the prisoner who decides the sex of the person who rubs down his genitals or is forced to observe him during a strip search.  The issue has now been raised in Scotland in relation to the double rapist Andrew Burns.  Female staff are forced to inspect him and his genitalia.

This is also the case in Ireland and the Inspector of Prisons is well aware of the situation.  But in the Inspector’s report on Limerick Women’s Prison, this issue was overlooked, in the sense that women being forced to search a male was a non-issue for them.  The Inspector, rather than defend the rights of female staff not to be subjected to such an appalling and denigrating situation, went the opposite way.  They argued in their report that the sex offenders in Limerick who complained about being searched by females who were on occasion accompanied by male staff was a legitimate complaint.  They saw nothing wrong with the female prison officers being forced to search a male with his genitalia intact.(2)

One of those held in Limerick has been convicted of ten counts of sexual assault and one count of the abuse of minor and yet it is to be expected that he be searched by a female rather than a male and also that male staff not be present even for security reasons.  This is nothing short of the institutional sexual assault of staff.

In some professions it is not unusual for women to be in the presence of naked or semi-naked males, such as doctors and nurses.  But this is not a medical setting. Sex offenders are being facilitated with getting women to rub them down, providing some sexual gratification to the sex offender.  This is nothing short of sexual assault.  In a situation where workers rights and women’s rights were important and defended the unions and even management and the government would not force staff into this situation.  But the reality of those who say let’s be kind, is that women are being forced to subject themselves so sexual assault as part of their conditions of employment.  The unions are silent, the left go along with this nonsense and the void is left to right wing forces to hypocritically howl about it.  This is the same right that moans about women taking rape cases to court, demanding abortion rights, amongst other measures.  They are no friends of women’s rights, but unfortunately many left organisations have betrayed women and told them to basically be nice and not complain too loudly, lest the sex offender complain about being misgendered.


(1)  The Daily Mirror (04/02/2023) Fury of female prison officers ordered to strip search dangerous trans convict. Mark McGivern & Graeme Murray

(2) OIP (2021) ‘Covid-19 Thematic Inspection of Limerick Prison’, 6-7 April 2021, Ireland p. 34

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