Tax credit 'rape clause' slammed as 'barbaric' by gender violence group

End Violence Against Women Coalition slams 'barbaric' child tax credit rape clause

Civil servants will assess the eligibility of women for child benefit

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A leading charity working against gender violence has said the Government's new 'rape clause' on child tax credits is "barbaric."

Last week the Government introduced new benefit laws, including a cap on child tax credits which means families will no longer receive the benefit after the first two children.

However, if a third child is born as a result of rape, and the mother can prove this, they will be entitled to receive the benefit for that child. To do so, the woman must fill in an eight-page form.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) claims that many rape victims do not want to reveal their situation due to the shame and stigma around abuse and won't even tell police, so forcing a victim to divulge details of their ordeal is simply horrific. 

Speaking for EVAW, co-director Rachel Krys told talkRADIO that "this [policy] is not for a civilised society and should be scrapped."

The group believes there is a major flaw in the way the policy has been rolled out, as third parties speaking to women who have been raped have not been trained to deal with the situation.

The eight-page form also asks the woman to confirm that she is not living with the father of the child. Krys says this will create a misunderstanding about what constitutes rape and abuse, and could have a "negative impact on women and their children at a time when they vulnerable."

She also said that it's disappointing that the two-child limit was introduced in the first place, "because the Government have pressed ahead, even though lots of organisations responded to consultation saying the policy of limiting the number of children would have negative impact [on women] who will already find it difficult."

Today (April 13) a demonstration against the rape clause will take place in Glasgow at 6pm, according to the Edinburgh Reporter.