Glasgow law firm crowdfunds to resist Tory rape clause

Nathanael Williams

Law firm from Scotland’s biggest city gears up for major challenge to Tory rape clause

A GLASGOW LAW FIRM has launched a crowdfunder to fight against the controversial UK Government Rape Clause and two child family cap which limits child tax credits to two children and forces women to reveal if they have had their subsequent children as a result of rape.

Legal Spark Centre (LSC) in Glasgow’s Merchant City wants to raise £3,500 over a month to assess and begin the proceedings of taking a case to court and challenging the UK Government.

The firm set up a crowdfunding page on CrowdJustice and called for supporters to donate what they could to help legally overturn what campaigners such as SNP candidate for Glasgow Central Alison Thewliss call “a cruel and thoughtless” policy.

LSC say that the main use of the money will be to initially, before any legal action starts, assess the relevant strengths and weaknesses of the legal arguments that could be made in a formal case against the UK Government.

Read more – Scotland says no to Tory rape clause in Glasgow gathering of defiance 

Daniel Donaldson, who is a solicitor behind the Legal Spark campaign, said: “This is an important issue for us, our clients and stakeholders who have made it clear that the two-child family cap on tax credits has the potential to push many low-income families further into poverty. It is also absurd for the Prime Minister to deny that there will any discernible human impact here.

“The arguments concerning poverty have been ignored, as has the violation of women’s dignity, and the dignity of their children. No one should have to prove they were raped to claim a welfare benefit purposely designed to help working families on low incomes.”

The Tory two child limit policy has been met with consistent and significant opposition with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson being the only political figure to back the UK Tory Government line.

Read more – Scottish Tories lambasted for lack of reality over rape clause stance 

Women’s organisations and health charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland have signalled strong opposition to the policy and have gone further by refusing to take part in any action to force women and rape survivors to fill out the multiple page form. In that form, in order to claim tax credit for a third child, a woman must apply for a “compassionate” exception.

An exceptional case requires a woman to prove that the child was born as a result of rape.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale leader of Scottish Labour, Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens have all condemned and demanded a removal of the policy. Ruth Davidson has since spoken of “compromises” on how the family cap is applied but agreed with her Tory MSP colleague Professor Adam Tompkins that these were “tough choices”. 

The family cap policy was rolled out on April 6 of this year as part of ongoing welfare reforms which, according to research by Scotland’s feminist body Engender, mean that since 2010 86 per cent of austerity measures have fallen on women. 

Picture courtesy of LSC

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