Tell the UK Government to #ScrapTheRapeClause
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As of 6th April 2017, families in the UK will only receive child tax credits for their first 2 children... unless you can prove that your 3rd child was conceived as a result of rape.
We think it is a cruel and inhumane to force victims of rape to ‘prove’ that they have been raped to access vital benefits that help keep themselves, and their children, out of poverty. Many victims take years before they are ready to open up and talk about sexual violence that they’ve suffered. Forcing them to do so before they’re ready, in order to access welfare, is cruel, and can re-traumatise victims. We live in a culture where women are routinely not believed when they report rape – this will only make this process more terrifying for rape victims.
Add to that the fact that much rape occurs within relationships as a form of domestic violence. We know from 40 years of working with victims of domestic violence that disclosing rape by a husband or partner is incredibly difficult – many women may never be able to admit it. Asking women to disclose that their husband and father of their children is also their rapist can also be extremely dangerous for women and children, and can trigger further violence. On average 2 women per week are killed by their partner or ex-partner in England & Wales. Forcing women to disclose abuse without appropriate safety planning and risk assessment is irresponsible.
The law also puts women in an unconscionable position of choosing between poverty and stigmatising their child as a ‘rape child’. No mother should be placed in this position where they have to choose between stigmatising their child and being unable to put food on the table for their child.
And that threat of poverty is real. Analysis for the Guardian reveals that a family whose third child is born before midnight on Wednesday 5th April could be up to £50,000 better off over 18 years than one whose child is born on Thursday.
In Northern Ireland, the situation is further complicated, as all serious crimes must be reported to police. So any woman applying for tax credits for a third child can expect an interview from police about their rape allegations.
We are calling on the UK Government to reverse this cruel welfare cut and reinstate tax credits to families with more than two children, and to #ScrapTheRapeClause.
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