Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has been accused of a “shameless defense” of the Tory tax credit ‘rape clause’, falsely claiming that rape victims do not need to “fill out a multiple page form”.
Speaking on Scotland Tonight, Ruth Davidson repeated the misleading claim that rape victims only need to “write their name and tick a box on a bit of paper” to claim an exemption to the Tory two child cap on tax credits, say the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Parents of children conceived through rape or in abusive relationships are required to provide their name and their child’s name, confirm they no longer live with the parent of the child, their address and national insurance number and provide enough information to persuade a third party professional of their claim.
In Northern Ireland, different laws mean that the third party assessor is required to report a crime disclosed to them to the police.
Both health professionals and victim support groups have been clear that they it is not their role to arbitrate over a rape claim.
This week, charity turn2us revealed to a House of Commons Committee that pregnant women were considering abortions due to the tax credit cap.
Alison Thewliss, who has led an SNP campaign against the ‘rape clause and two child policy, said: “Ruth Davidson should stop acting as an apologist for Theresa May – people in Scotland will rightly take a very dim view about a politician who is not only willing to defend a policy as heinous as the rape clause, but is willing to mislead people to try and cover up its awful consequences.
“Rather than just ‘tick a box’, the form clearly that a woman must fill in her own details and her child’s name, and then discuss her situation in enough detail that a third party professional can be sure that her ‘circumstances, as described, are consistent’ with her child having been conceived as a result of rape.
“This cannot be done without the risk of re-traumatising the woman and worryingly that includes the child’s name – both issues of concern raised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
“There is also a specific danger for women in Northern Ireland – that version of the rape clause form carries a warning that a third party being informed of rape has a duty to report this to the police. This could put women in Northern Ireland at increased risk.
“Victims support groups and health professionals have been absolutely clear that it’s not their role to assess this trauma or to arbitrate over a rape claim – and the UK government have offered no training on the policy on sexual violence to the 660,000 nurses, doctors and social workers across the UK who are expected to sign off on the rape clause form.
“Ruth Davidson is deliberately misleading people about the appalling consequences of the Tory two-child cap and rape clause – and she must immediately retract these demonstrably false claims.”