PMQs live: Theresa May says rape clause law forcing victims to prove they were attacked is about ‘fairness’

 Prime Minister defends controversial amendment to two-child policy

May Bulman@maybulman
Wednesday 26 April 2017 14:35
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Theresa May says rape clause forcing victims to prove they were attacked is about 'fairness'

Theresa May has said a controversial clause that will force rape victims to prove they were attacked before they can receive tax credits for a third child is about "fairness".

Speaking during PMQs, the Prime Minister insisted there was a “principle of fairness” behind the two-child policy, which requires women who have been raped fill in a lengthy form in an effort to prove their ordeal if they need to claim tax credits for more than two children

During the debate, Chris Stephens of the SNP asked: "Can the Prime Minister confirm that no organisation in Scotland has yet signed up to help women fill in an eight-page ‘Why my child is a product of rape' form?

"With DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) staff not trained either, is the Prime Minister seriously going into this election with this unworkable and immoral policy?"

Ms May said in response: “This is an incredibly sensible issue. We looked at it very carefully, we consulted very carefully on it. And we have put in place a series of sensitive measures when such cases arise.

"But I think it’s important that we look at what lies behind this, because underpinning this policy is a principle of fairness, and we know that what the SNP wants to do is scrap the policy in its entirety.

“We believe that people who are in work have to make the same decisions as those people who are out of work, so that people on benefits have to decide whether they can afford more children , jus as people in work have to decide. "

The policy, which has been described as “inhumane” by campaigners and liberal politicians, came into force earlier this month, and requires mothers seeking benefits for a third child to prove she has been sexually assaulted or that the child was conceived during an abusive relationship.

Members of the Scottish Parliament recently filed a motion to debate the clause, with hopes that it could influence Westminster to debate the tax reforms or take the matter to a committee.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has meanwhile attacked the “regressive” child tax credit reforms and encouraged politicians to re-think the policy, saying the DWP did not complete a “sufficiently detailed” impact assessment for the reforms and that the law could violate human rights laws.

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