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Child Tax Credit (Rape Victims)

Volume 623: debated on Thursday 23 March 2017

7. What steps the Government are taking to prepare for the implementation of the requirement for victims of rape to prove that abuse in order to receive child tax credit for their third child. (909431)

The Government consulted on the exception in October 2016 and responded in January 2017, outlining the finalised policy. Since then, we have been developing guidance and working with stakeholders to plan for the delivery of this exception in the most sensitive and compassionate way possible.

The rape clause exception in the two-child limit on tax credits is not just unworkable, but inhumane. It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of sexual violence and domestic abuse. Will the Minister act urgently and seek to persuade her colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions to reconsider the proposal in order to protect women’s rights?

We know that this issue is difficult and sensitive. The exception will use a third-party model, whereby women can request the exception through engaging with a third party, who will be a recognised healthcare professional. We are setting up procedures that are mindful of the sensitivities involved. Neither DWP nor HMRC staff will question the claimant about the incident, other than to take the claim.