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Date Published
September 21, 2017

The letter, published in the Telegraph today (21 September 2017), was also signed by Women’s Aid, The Children’s Society, Rape Crisis and The Fawcett Society and many others.

See below for the full letter and list of signatories.

Dear Editors

We strongly oppose the UK Government’s two child tax credit limit, a dangerous policy that forces victims of domestic and sexual violence to disclose that their third or subsequent baby was conceived as a result of rape or coercive control, in order to avoid losing their child’s tax credits.

Many women will never disclose rape to anyone, for reasons including trauma, self-protection, shame, and fear for others – including their child. To force them to do so is cruel. In Northern Ireland, where the law requires that all rapes are reported to police, survivors are further forced to engage with the criminal justice system. The demand for a woman to have left the perpetrator in order to claim tax credits reveals a complete lack of understanding of the coercive and controlling behaviour that underpins this crime and the life-threatening risks facing women and children who leave.

The ‘rape clause’ is set against a backdrop of wider changes to social security rules that restrict women’s access to security, safety and the resources they need to live free from violence and abuse.

On this year’s International Peace Day – the theme of which is ‘respect, safety and dignity for all – we call on the UK Government to uphold the rights and dignity of women and children survivors and reverse the two child tax credit limit immediately.


Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Women’s Aid Federation of England

Jan Melia, Chief Executive, Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland

Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive, Scottish Women’s Aid

Eleri Butler, Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid

Katharine Sacks-Jones, Director, Agenda Alliance

Donna Covey, Director, AVA

Guy Shennan, Chair, and Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive – British Association of Social Workers

Ann Furedi, Chief Executive, BPAS

Kathy Evans, Chief Executive, Children England

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Rachel Krys, Co-Director, End Violence Against Women and Girls Coalition

Emma Ritch, Executive Director, Engender

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society

Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive, Gingerbread

Marai Larasi, Chief Executive, Imkaan

Hareem Ghani, Shuwanna Aaron, Gwyneth Sweatman, National Union of Students Women’s Officers in the UK, Scotland and Wales

Dianne Whitfield and Dawn Thomas – Co-Chairs, Rape Crisis England and Wales

Estelle du Boulay, Chief Executive, Rights of Women

Gill Walton, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives

Diana Barran, Chief Executive, SafeLives

Nicole Jacobs, Chief Executive, Standing Together

Sharon Greene, National Women’s Officer, Unison

Siobhan Endean, National Officer for Equalities, Unite the union

Mark Castle, Chief Executive, Victim Support

Laura Payne, Programme Manager, 4in10 Programme

Date Published
September 21, 2017
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