Our joint open letter published in the Telegraph, calling on the Government to rethink their two-child tax credit limit and rape clause
Thursday 21st September 2017
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
Published in The Telegraph, Thursday 21st September 2017