Tax credit ‘rape clause’ legislation – our stance
Ignoring the very salient facts that austerity cuts, such as the limit on tax credits, will disproportionately impact women and children forcing them into poverty, and the fact that reproductive coercion is a tool used by male perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse, demanding women disclose their experiences of rape to a bureaucrat who has no specialist training is inherently abusive. The implementation of legislation requiring women to disclose rape in order to qualify for tax credits for a third child is nothing more than state-sanctioned violence against women and children.
Forcing women to disclose, whether to the police or others, is grossly inappropriate even when the staff involved have extensive training into trauma and sexualised violence. It certainly has no place in a victim-centred justice system. Forcing women into declaring their experiences of sexualised violence to staff who lack the appropriate training to both recognise sexualised violence and trauma in order to receive tax credits is a heinous, inhumane policy predicated on systemic misogyny. This clause must be removed and tax child tax credits paid to every single child, regardless of birth order or number of siblings.
We fully support the stance of Rape Crisis Glasgow who are refusing to participate in any 'vetting' procedure which force women to disclose rape in order buy food for their children. We also understand why other Rape Crisis centres may feel they have no choice but to follow this policy in order to support women and children.
We want an end to all austerity cuts starting with this clause. Government policy which punishes families for being poor has no place in a country which prides itself on its commitment to 'human rights'.