OPFS Statement – Universal Credit : 2 child – rape clause
Surely children should not have their life chances damaged because of the number of sisters and brothers they have?
OPFS supports the decision by key women’s organisations who will refuse to be third party verifiers to help officials implement the so-called “rape clause” which is part of the Conservative government changes where new claimants will no longer receive child tax credits for more than two children.
Our statement is below or you can download the PDF version here.
OPFS supports the decision by Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid and other key women’s organisations who will refuse to help officials implement the so-called “rape clause” which is part of the Conservative government changes where new claimants will no longer receive child tax credits for more than two children.
Women who were the victim of rape or conceived while in a coercive relationship will have to prove their third child was born as a result of this in order to qualify for an exemption. In order to prove this, a six-page form must be filled out by a third party professional. OPFS supports those specialist charities who will not cooperate with the DWP by acting as a “third party assessor” to implement an exemption put in place for women who can “prove their pregnancies resulted from rape. Rape Crisis Scotland says that “forcing rape survivors to disclose sexual violence in order to access social security payments is inhumane. OPFS Advisors will still of course offer advice, support parents with claim forms and explain the rules.
OPFS Director Satwat Rehman said
“The decision to impose a two-child limit on benefit payments not only stigmatises mothers but sets apart siblings. Anything which sends the implicit message that a child is unwanted, unvalued or less important surely cannot be defended? These changes will have a profoundly negative impact on family life, as well as wider implications for society.
In extreme situations, older children may be required to leave home before they are fully ready, and large families may break up in order to avoid the two-child limit. Parents with three or more children who have been bereaved or are fleeing domestic violence will be unable to obtain adequate support for all their children. Families affected will include those who were not on Universal Credit when the children were born but who will need to claim in future because of an unforeseen change such as unemployment, poor-health, separation or even death of a parent.
Children in families with more than two children are already at a higher risk of poverty: 39% of children in families with three or more children live in poverty after housing costs, compared with 26% for those in families with one or two children
This is a particularly cruel cut because it suggests some children matter more than others. It’s also contradictory because no parent can predict the future. Families who have the means to support a third child now could struggle in the future and have to claim Universal Credit because of poor health, unemployment or family breakdown. We believe it is irresponsible for the government to go ahead. They must halt implementation of this policy. Surely children should not have their life chances damaged because of the number of sisters and brothers they have?”
Head of Policy and Strategy
One Parent Families Scotland