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New poster campaign calls for benefits rape clause to be scrapped

Drive to push for official UK Government response was launched in Glasgow on Saturday.

By STV News

Published 17 Jan 2016.

A new poster campaign calling for an end to the UK Government's proposed benefits rape clause has been launched.

Campaigners say the clause would require women who have been raped to prove this to a Department for Work and Pensions official so they can receive benefits for a third child conceived as a result of being raped.

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss was among those launching the "hard-hitting" poster in the city's George Square.

The campaign promotes a petition that would trigger a formal government response to the campaigners' plea for the clause to be scrapped.

Ms Thewliss said: "We think the policy on limiting tax credits to the first two children is appalling and tantamount to social engineering, but to put a woman who has been raped in a position where she needs to declare that to a government official is just abhorrent. This also stigmatises the child involved, which is surely against the UN convention on the rights of the child. This proposal has no place in the twenty-first century and must be dropped immediately.

"I’ve raised this issue on the floor of the House of Commons on no less than nine occasions - yet the Government still can't explain how it will work and remains hell bent on pressing ahead with this draconian procedure."

Angela Devine, manager of Glasgow Women's Aid, said: "Glasgow Women’s Aid is pleased to support this coordinated campaign calling for the Government to scrap the proposed rape clause for tax credits.

"As an organisation offering refuge and support to some of the most vulnerable women and children in our city, we know the damaging effect this clause could have on women who have already endured trauma.

"It is not uncommon for children to be the product of rape or coercive control and women should never be placed in the humiliating position of appealing to the DWP for benefits.

"We would ask whether DWP staff will be trained to deal with sensitive disclosures and to signpost women to the correct support services."

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