UK Government Forced to Clarify Rape Clause

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Wednesday November 8 2017

DWP continue to back this disgraceful policy.

The UK government has been forced to provide further detail about its abhorrent rape clause and two-child benefit cap policy after sustained pressure from the SNP after the House of Commons Petitions Committee told the DWP their response to a petition with over 25,000 signatures did not address the concerns about the rights and safety of women.

The Tories have continually attempted to defend the indefensible policy, that forces victims of rape to relive their experience in order to access government support for any third or subsequent child.

The SNP has led the campaign against the so-called ‘rape clause’ since it was first announced, and this continued pressure has now forced the UK government to explain their disgraceful policy in more detail.

Commenting, Christina McKelvie MSP, who convenes Holyrood’s Equalities Committee, said:

“The rape clause is a completely appalling policy – yet even in this amended response to the petition to scrap it, the DWP fail to recognise how disgraceful it is.

“The policy needs to be scrapped and it needs to be scrapped now – it is absolutely staggering that the Tory government thinks that making women relive experiences of rape in order to access state support is in any way appropriate or sensitive.

“The fact that the Scottish Tories have happily defended this abhorrent policy shows just how disgraceful Ruth Davidson’s party is.

“If the DWP think that this updated response brushes the issue under the carpet, they are sorely mistaken.

“The Chancellor has an opportunity in this month’s budget to scrap this vile policy once and for all – I strongly suggest that he takes it.”

Commenting following the modified response from the UK Government, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“It’s blatantly clear from the updated response that the Government has offered up to this petition that they still do not understand the damage that they are inflicting on women and families through their dogmatic commitment to the two-child cap.

“Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has shown that over 200,000 children will move into relative poverty by 2020 as a result of this repugnant policy.

“It’s simply unacceptable that women are being forced to relive the trauma of rape simply in order to make a benefit claim.

“Even with mounting criticism from charities, women’s aid groups and trade unions, it’s appalling that the Government’s position on this matter hasn’t changed.

“What women and families need is for this policy to be abandoned in its entirety, not more hollow rhetoric from Whitehall that falls far short of addressing the problem.”



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