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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 April 2017

Benefits workers oppose 'rape clause' and two-child limit

photo amenclinicsphotos/CC

photo amenclinicsphotos/CC   (Click to enlarge)

'John Hood', civil servants' union PCS rep

The requirement for victims to complete an eight-page form in order to qualify for the so-called "rape clause" exemption from child benefit cuts has led to a national outcry.

The Tory government's new restrictions on child benefits were already an attack on working class women and families. This new policy puts civil servants in the position of having to explain to victims of rape that they will need a "third-party professional" to also complete the form before they will be given access to child benefit.

Workers in the civil service are used to enacting policies they don't necessarily agree with. But the prospect of explaining this inhumane process to women who have already experienced horrific trauma is unacceptable.

Staff will also need to explain how the policy does not allow the benefit to be claimed if the mother still lives with her attacker - a situation that, sadly, is not uncommon.

No special training on how to best deal with women who have questions about the rape clause has been provided. Civil service management seemingly doesn't realise how distressing having to quibble with victims of sexual crime will be for staff - let alone claimants.

Additionally, workers in Northern Ireland could potentially be committing a criminal offence if they don't report to police that a rape took place - but would be breaching confidentiality if they do report it.

Staff expected to deal with this side of things should be given full training and support. Commitment should be given that departments will support any worker threatened with prosecution as a result of following these new rules.

Civil service unions must make it clear that they oppose the two-child limit. As a first step they should argue for the "rape exception" form to be dropped and replaced with something that supports victims, while campaigning for the two-child limit - and all attacks on benefits - to be reversed.

Corbyn too must shout this loud and clear if he is to mobilise hard-hit claimants and public sector workers to vote.

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In The Socialist 19 April 2017:


What we think

Defeat the millionaires' Tory government


Socialist Party news and analysis

900 carers quit a day - nationalise social care now

Fight the Sun's bigoted lies

Benefits workers oppose 'rape clause' and two-child limit

Joint struggle can stop tuition fee interest hike

Them & Us


Jobstown Not Guilty

Protest is not a crime: back Jobstown Not Guilty


Save our NHS

What kind of movement is needed to save our NHS?


International socialist news and analysis

Trump escalates geopolitical tensions on Korean peninsula

Turkey: constitutional referendum result a pyrrhic victory for Erdogan

French presidential election: Mélenchon campaign gains momentum

Relaunch of socialistworld.net


Workplace news and analysis

CWU conference: fight Royal Mail pension attack

Workers sailing to victory on Woolwich ferry

PCS ballot papers out: vote Democracy Alliance

Weapons workers continue pension strike

Mood for a fightback at education conferences

Picturehouse cinema strike spreads

National Shop Stewards Network conference 2017


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Mass movements, not 'fringe cultures', can win feminist change

Buses and buggies: a driver speaks

The Socialist inbox


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

TUSC backs RMT Save Our Guards campaign, while local Labour Party blocks debate

Energetic start to TUSC local election campaigning

Doncaster mayoral election: Socialist Steve campaign diary

TUSC council candidate vows never to go to the 'dark side'!


 

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Related links:

Benefits:

triangleWhat we saw

triangleThem & Us

triangle900 carers quit a day - nationalise social care now

triangleCuts leave schools unable to meet basic needs

triangleThousands left with 50p for rent - cap rents, not benefits

Workers:

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triangleHuman rights workers strike in support of sacked union members

Rape:

triangleScrap the Tory 'rape clause' and all benefit attacks

triangleInternational Women's Day

Women:

triangleUS: women ice hockey players' strike threat wins living wage

triangleMass movements, not 'fringe cultures', can win feminist change

Civil Service:

trianglePCS ballot papers out: vote Democracy Alliance

Claimants:

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PCS:

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