News

Government reject calls to scrap "woman-judging" 3rd child policy

21 January 2017

On the afternoon Trump is inaugurated and on the eve of worldwide women’s marches, the UK government quietly announces that it will stick by its plan to force women to ‘prove’ rape for benefits.

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said:

“We are profoundly disappointed to see the publication of these new rules which make entitlement to child tax credit dependent on “proving” rape. The obvious difficulty of requiring women to identify a child as a "product" of rape, and then having a third party verify this claim, should have been enough to force a complete rethink of the whole policy proposal.

“It’s well known that women are reluctant to disclose rape to anyone, for many reasons including fear and self-protection, guilt, shame and concern for the impact of the knowledge on other family members. Requiring disclosure to officialdom, in order to receive support for children, is asking women to trust and depend on someone they may prefer not to. The assurances of confidentiality and sensitivity have a hollow ring in a week the DWP was shown to have committed a serious data breach putting the life of a domestic violence survivor at risk.

“In this response, the government also rejects exempting women who are still living with their perpetrator on the grounds that he would benefit financially. This whole policy betrays a lack of understanding about sexual and domestic abuse.

“Leading figures in this government have previously worked to try to improve justice outcomes for rape survivors, so it is extremely sad to see the insistence on this woman-judging measure by the DWP.”

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