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Women must prove rape or face losing tax credits

By Tom Batchelor

Women who have a third child as the result of being raped will be forced to provide evidence of the sexual assault or face losing tax credits, under controversial plans rolled out by the government.

The reforms, first announced by George Osborne, mean women will have to prove they became pregnant after having non-consensual sex if they want to receive tax credits for a third or subsequent child.

At the summer Budget in 2015, the then-Chancellor announced that families with more than two children would no longer be able to claim child tax credit on third and subsequent children. Those changes come into force in April.

The government said some women should be exempt from the proposals, including those who had been raped.

Now it is pressing ahead with the plan that will require women to report their ordeal to a third party, such as a GP or social worker, before their tax credit claim is processed.

The proposal states: "Evidence from this professional third party, demonstrating that the claimant's circumstances are consistent with those of a person who has had intercourse without consenting to it (at a time when the conception of her third or subsequent child might have resulted), will normally be used to determine eligibility for the exception.

"Thus women are not placed in the position of having to give details about the rape to DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) or HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) officials and eligibility can be met without a conviction or any judicial finding."

There will be no time limit on when the report must be made and third or subsequent children conceived in coercive relationships will also be exempt, but not if the woman is still living with a partner who could financially benefit from the abuse.

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