Transgender woman alleges rape in men's prison
Police are investigating rape allegations made by a transgender woman inmate at Whanganui prison.
The woman alleges she was raped by a guard on a gym stairwell two months ago. She also alleges that her previous complaints about sexual assault were not investigated by prison staff.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said they "found no substance to the allegations".
The accused staff were not stood down at any stage.
The guards did not have contact with the prisoner during the internal investigation, according to the spokeswoman. She could not say if they were in different parts of the prison to the inmate at the moment.
A police spokeswoman confirmed they were investigating the allegations.
The activist group No Pride in Prisons (NPIP) staged a protest outside Corrections offices in Wellington and Auckland on Friday morning, criticising the department's actions as "insufficient".
Emilie Râkete, a spokeswoman for NPIP, said the purpose of the protest was to send "a clear message that this isn't going to go away - it's their responsibility".
"They're in charge of vulnerable people's lives," she said.
Among their demands is that the woman, who is currently being housed in a men's prison, be housed in a prison appropriate to her gender.
Corrections acknowledged in an email they are aware the inmate is a woman.
A spokeswoman for Corrections said they "absolutely refute any suggestion that rape is a systemic issue in New Zealand prisons".
A new transgender and intersex policy was introduced by Corrections in February 2014.
Inmates can apply to move to a prison suitable for their correct gender.