HC Deb 25 April 1917 vol 92 cc2396-7
76 and 77. Commander WEDGWOOD

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether women convicted of soliciting can now be medically examined for venereal disease if sent to prison; if so, under what Act of Parliament; and (2) whether his attention has been called to the arrest of two women who were sent to Holloway, medically examined for syphilis, and then acquitted; whether the prison authorities have power to have women committed or remanded medically examined without a magistrate's order; and, if not, under what power the police, magistrates, or prison officials acted?


I propose to answer this and the next question together. All prisoners are medically examined on reception under the Statutory Prison Rules. No prisoner is locally examined for venereal disease without his or her consent, and a magistrate has no power to order such an examination. In the case referred to the magistrates requested the medical officer to report whether the prisoners were suffering from venereal disease, and the medical officer was able to report that in neither case was there any indication of such disease. Neither of the prisoners raised any objection to being examined. I propose to ask the Brentford magistrates what justification they had for asking for an examination in this case. There has been no time to communicate with them since the question appeared on the Paper.

Commander WEDGWOOD

Were these women asked to give their consent before they were examined, and did they know their rights under the law?


Perhaps my hon. Friend will give me notice?


Will the right hon. Gentleman also make inquiries with regard to a case before the City Court, in which a child of thirteen was compelled to undergo the necessary examination?


Perhaps my hon. Friend will give me notice of that question.