Safer Wales Board of Trustees was recently asked to give our view on whether we were willing to be included in the list of “accredited” organisations that can support a woman's claim that her third or more child(ren) were the result of rape, with the result of rape and consequently enabling that individual to claim enhanced Child Tax Credit.
Our prime concern is the safety and support of our survivor clients. We believe that agencies such as our own are best placed to safeguard clients including facilitating safe disclosure. Whilst we understand the aims of the policy and are supportive of any effort that ensures more assistance is given to those in most need, we do have some concerns which we would be grateful if you take into account. Safer Wales believes the proposed implementation of this exception to the limiting of the individual child tax credit, as it is currently presented, risks a reduction in community safety, an increase in safeguarding risks, and is potentially a breach of human rights. This is not in the best interests of survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Bernie Bowen-Thomson, Co-CEO Safer Wales said “Safer Wales believes the new Child Tax Credit legislation seriously risks undermining the credibility of survivors of rape and poses a concerning risk to community safety. We also believe it is potentially a breach of human rights.
“As a charity that works with the most vulnerable people in society, including survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse, our prime concern is the safety of the people we protect and their access to justice.
“We believe this clause has the potential to seriously undermine the positive work that has been developed since the 1990s to increase victim confidence in reporting perpetrators of sexual violence.
“By weakening victims’ voices and undermining the efforts of agencies such as Safer Wales, it threatens the vital work with survivors of rape to obtain justice, which is already a difficult field.”