Appeal for West of Scotland Tory MSPs to speak out against the inhumane rape clause and two child limit
MSP Gil Paterson has implored Tory MSPs in West Scotland to show some respect to women and stand against the rape clause.
In a letter to Maurice Golden, Jamie Greene and Maurice Corry, he asked them to show consensus with women’s charities and most politicians and speak out against the rape clause and two child limit.
The family cap limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or during an abusive relationship.
The Tories railroaded through these policies without a parliamentary debate or vote – leaving many outstanding questions with regards to women’s’ rights, the impact on child poverty, as well as how the hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals will be trained to assess evidence of rape.
Many sexual violence support charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK government, not least due to the trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape.
Mr Paterson said: “I implore upon Tory MSPs representing the region to speak out on behalf of constituents who have suffered from the horrors of sexual violence and rape.
“Asking a victim of rape to disclose this deeply personal incident and relive it is an insidious demand.
“During my tenure of more than 10 years as a board member of Rape Crisis Central Scotland, I got an insight into the stress victims of rape go through in speaking about their own experience.
“It is an indefensible policy, and the Tories should be – and many probably are – ashamed of themselves and their party for pushing through this measure against rape victims and mothers. I ask Tory MSPs to challenge this sinister path their party is on, and show some decency for the women the West of Scotland.”
COPY OF LETTER
Two Child Limit and Rape Clause
You will be aware of the UK government’s rape clause and family cap policies, limiting child tax credit support for families with more than two children unless victims of rape or abusive relationships are willing to disclose deeply personal information.
These policies were added to the statute books without a parliamentary debate or vote, and analysis has shown that the two child policy alone will drive an increase in child poverty of more than 10% and result in 266,000 more children living in poverty by the end of the parliament. Rather than working to improve this, the UK government is pursuing a policy that will drive up child poverty.
There are many unanswered questions relating to these policies – including concern that adequate sexual violence training has not been provided to the nurses, doctors and social workers expected to implement the rape clause on the UK government’s behalf. As a result, many sexual violence support charities have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK Government.
You may also have read the letter in the Guardian from a group of psychologists voicing their concern that these assessments force women to disclose details that may cause “flashbacks, renewed shame and emotional turmoil, and consequently affect how mothers bond with their children” as well as having the potential to cause identity crises that carry “significant psychological risks” for children and adults who have been born of rape.
Do you condemn these appalling policies, or do you stand by your party’s statement that forced disclosure of rape is the “most sensitive way possible” to manage benefits?
I look forward to hearing your views on the above matters.
Press releases prepared by Alan Ferguson, Gil Paterson MSP's communications manager, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07342 061722..