Women’s Aid responds to Work & Pensions Select Committee’s report on two child limit
Friday 11th January 2019
Sian Hawkins, Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs at Women’s Aid, said:
“A survivor and her children should never be faced with the awful reality of either living in poverty or being forced to stay put with the abuser. That’s why we whole-heartedly support calls from the Work & Pensions Select Committee to immediately halt plans to apply the ‘two child limit’ to all families making new Universal Credit claims – even those whose third or subsequent child was born before the objectionable two child tax credit limit policy came into force on 6th April 2017.
“We have been warning the government for a long time that this policy 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.
“It is clear that this policy is inhumane and discriminatory to women, particularly survivors of domestic abuse who had no control over their number of children. We welcome the Work & Pensions Select Committee’s call on the government to review whether the policy itself undermines international human rights obligations as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Child and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This government has declared that it is committed to transforming the response to domestic abuse and making 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, Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, has already made some significant commitment to ensuring the welfare system works for women. We must ensure that the government’s 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]