Staff ill-trained to deal with “despicable” rape clause

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Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group leader, Hywel Williams has made a renewed plea for the UK Government to scrap the two-child policy and so-called “rape clause”, introduced quietly by Westminster without debate or a vote.

The changes which came into effect last week will restrict tax credits and universal credit to two children per family and require women to prove that their third child was born as a result of rape before they can access their benefits.

The Arfon MP has criticised the UK Government for failing to provide adequate training to the nurses, doctors and social workers who are expected to judge whether or not a woman’s child has been conceived as a result of rape.

Concerns were raised during the UK Government’s consultation that staff were not adequately trained but those concerns have not been acknowledged by the Government.

Commenting, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group leader, Hywel Williams said:

“Despite serious concerns being raised by many from within Parliament and outside, the UK Government has decided to sneak through this despicable new policy without even a debate, let alone a vote in Parliament.

“The cruelty of requiring victims of rape to re-live their ordeal in order to access their benefits is beyond what any decent human being could inflict and it is easy to see why the Tories were so desperate to do this quietly, avoiding the inevitable opposition in Parliament.

“Just as disgraceful is the UK Government’s failure to provide adequate training for the nurses, doctors and social workers who are expected to judge whether or not a woman’s child has been conceived as a result of rape. Despite concerns about training being raised repeatedly during the Tories’ own consultation period, they have done nothing to address these concerns.

“Theresa May is beginning to earn herself a reputation for forcing through unworkable and ill-thought-through laws before making inevitable U-turns and my Plaid Cymru colleagues and I will continue to work with the SNP in Parliament to make sure this demeaning new law is reversed. It is about time that the UK Government started treating women and families with respect and dignity."

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