Raped wife must pay attacker child maintenance, says CSA

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The Independent Online

A woman raped by her husband must now pay him thousands of pounds in child maintenance, the Child Support Agency (CSA) has told her.

A woman raped by her husband must now pay him thousands of pounds in child maintenance, the Child Support Agency (CSA) has told her.

The 43-year-old woman fears the payments will cancel out the £14,000 damages she was awarded in an historic judgment that found her husband guilty of rape. Before the case, he had been given custody of their two children in a divorce hearing. Yesterday, the CSA confirmed the woman's level of contribution for child support was being assessed. A CSA spokeswoman said although this was a "sensitive issue" there was no CSA policy which covered her situation.

The 1996 case was the first civil damages action for rape, brought after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring criminal charges against the man. The civil case judge in Bradford described the 1992 attack as a violent assault that had left the wife requiring psychiatric treatment. The initial award of £7,000 was doubled

The woman has since married her childhood sweetheart and moved to West Yorkshire where she earns £14,000 as a secretary.

In 1994, before she brought the civil action, the woman divorced her husband for unreasonable behaviour but lost custody of her boys, now 14 and 16, when the family court ruled that the boys should be returned to their father in the city where they were at school.

Yesterday the woman told The Independent the CSA was asking her to pay her former husband, a welder for a leading vehicle manufacturer, up to a third of her net income for the maintenance of the two boys.

She said: "There should be something to stop a rapist being paid by the victim, even if it's supposed to be for the children. He still wants to control me and this is his way of making me have to think about him and the rape."

The Court of Appeal made rape in marriage a crime in 1991. The decision was upheld by the Lords, overturning the 250-year-old rule that a husband could not rape his wife.

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