At the intersection of their age and gender, girls' rights are often an oversight in human rights discourse. Girls, whose lives are characterized by violence, multiple oppressions and over-policing are especially vulnerable to human rights violations due to the gendered/raced/classed nature of the criminal justice system. Using semi-structured qualitative interviews with 20 girls in British Columbia, this research documents girls’ experiences in police jail cells. Findings suggest girls’ face a number of threats to their safety, dignity and equality while in police custody that constitute violations of international standards for children held in detention. These include pre-trial detention for “social welfare” and punishment purposes; denial of basic necessities, clothing and medical attention; discriminatory routine practices, such as strip-searching and camera surveillance; harassment; psychological and physical violence. These are discussed with reference to international human rights and existing research to situate their experiences within a broader analysis of girls’ rights and equality.
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Thesis advisor: MacAlister, David
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