Women’s Aid responds to Amber Rudd’s speech on Universal Credit and the two child limit
Friday 11th January 2018
Sian Hawkins, Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs at Women’s Aid, said:
“We are relieved that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, has listened to our concerns and taken the decision to not go ahead with plans to apply the “two child limit” to all families making new Universal Credit claims. We called for the roll out of the two child tax credit limit policy to be urgently halted because we knew it would be dangerous for survivors of domestic abuse. This would have affected those whose third or subsequent child was born before the two child limit policy came into force. We also welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment to ensuring that the main carer for children always receives the Universal Credit payment; this has been a priority for us as it will help prevent Universal Credit from making financial abuse even worse for survivors and their children. Today’s speech by the Secretary of State will be much welcomed by survivors and marks a step in the right direction to empowering more women to safely escape domestic abuse and rebuild them and their children’s lives free from fear and abuse.
“It is worth remembering that women whose third or subsequent child was born after 6th April 2017 are still subject to this objectionable policy – and it is only plunging more children into poverty and putting an additional financial barrier in way of survivors fleeing domestic abuse. Although there is a so-called “rape clause” exemption, where children have been conceived as a result of domestic or sexual abuse, this does not reflect survivors’ lived experience of disclosing domestic abuse and rape. We know from our work with survivors that many women do not have the confidence to speak out about their experience of domestic abuse or rape due to feelings of shame, worrying about the repercussions for their children and fears of the consequences of doing so.
“This government has stated that it is committed to transforming the response to domestic abuse and making all survivors safe in the knowledge that the state “will do everything it can to both support them and their children” through its forthcoming domestic abuse bill. We are pleased that the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions already made significant commitment to ensuring the welfare system works for women. The government must ensure that its ambitions for the bill are not undermined by a welfare system that creates additional financial barriers for women and their children who need to flee domestic abuse. Survivors must be able to access welfare support for all of their children to safely rebuild their life free from fear and abuse.”
If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]