Campaigners against the UK Government’s proposed rape clause have stepped up their campaign by launching a hard hitting poster campaign and website, calling upon the Government to ‘scrap the rape clause’.
The Government’s proposals would require a woman, who has a third child as the result of rape, to justify her position in order to avoid losing tax credits. The plan to restrict child tax credits to two children for new claimants is due to commence in 2017.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss first identified the issue in July 2015 during the Government’s summer budget.
Commenting as she launched the latest stage of the campaign in Glasgow City Centre, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“We think the policy on limiting tax credits to the first two children is appalling and tantamount to social engineering, but to put a woman who has been raped in a position where she needs to declare that to a government official is just abhorrent. This also stigmatises the child involved, which is surely against the UN convention on the rights of the child. This proposal has no place in the twenty-first century and must be dropped immediately.
“I’ve raised this issue on the floor of the House of Commons on no less than nine occasions – yet the Government still can’t explain how it will work and remains hell bent on pressing ahead with this draconian procedure.
“With just two weeks left to run on this important petition, we are urging as many people as possible to visit www.scraptherapeclause.co.uk and add their voice to the many others calling upon the Government to drop this appalling proposal.”
Angela Devine, Manager of Glasgow Women’s Aid, said:
“Glasgow Women’s Aid is pleased to support this coordinated campaign calling for the Government to scrap the proposed rape clause for tax credits.
“As an organisation offering refuge and support to some of the most vulnerable women and children in our city, we know the damaging effect this clause could have on women who have already endured trauma.
“It is not uncommon for children to be the product of rape or coercive control and women should never be placed in the humiliating position of appealing to the DWP for benefits.
“We would ask whether DWP staff will be trained to deal with sensitive disclosures and to signpost women to the correct support services.
“Any just society has a moral obligation to care for its poor and vulnerable with children at the heart of this obligation, regardless of their provenance.
“We as an organisation see this policy as an attempt to control and thereby undermine the already vulnerable position of women, children and young people within society.
“We reject these changes as untenable and discriminatory.”