Westminster must scrap the dangerous tax credits “rape clause”
Thursday 06 April 2017
Clare Bailey MLA has called on the Westminster government to scrap the “rape clause” contained in the child tax credit changes which take effect today.
The Social Security (Restrictions on Amounts for Children and Qualifying Young Persons) Amendment Regulations 2017 (Statutory Instruments 2017 No. 376) require women to prove that they conceived through rape to access tax credits for a third child. This means that women will be forced to re-live their trauma and stigmatise that child or lose out on welfare payments.
The Green Party deputy leader said: “This legislative change is cruel and dangerous. It shows that the Tory government care little for the most vulnerable in our society and do not understand the nature of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
“This clause endangers women and should be scrapped as soon as possible. There is a serious risk that women could be subject to further violence and abuse if they disclose that they have been raped. The child may also be stigmatised as a result of these changes”.
The South Belfast MLA also pointed out that reporting procedures in Northern Ireland differ to that of the UK. Under NI law, organisations and support services are legally obligated to disclose criminal offences to the police. Therefore, if a women discloses that she has become pregnant as a result of rape, HMRC must disclose this information to the PSNI.
Clare Bailey commented:
“Women may be unwilling or afraid to report sexual abuse and engage with a criminal justice system that they often lack confidence in. Women should not be unwillingly thrust into the criminal justice system via a tax credit claim.
“This entire policy is dangerous, immoral and shows the Tory indifference to vulnerable women and families in Northern Ireland.”
Sinead McIvor 07701 302 498