News and Views

NAWO’s letter to the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny committee  in response to the ‘Family Cap’.  ‘Rape Clause’

NAWO has written to the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to voice its concerns about the Social Security (Restrictions on Amounts for Children and Qualifying Young Persons) Amendment Regulations 2017 (Statutory Instruments 2017 No. 376), elements of which are known more colloquially as the ‘family cap’ and ‘rape clause’.

Click HERE to see our full letter which clearly states our concerns and calls for further opportunity to debate the policy and its intended objective.  NAWO states that as women will be disproportionately affected by ongoing cuts to social security, the ‘rape clause’ and ‘family cap’ warrant a review and debate by Members to ensure that the rights of women are protected and that UK Government policies do not further exacerbate women and children’s poverty.

Sections 13 and 14 of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 restrict to two the number of children or qualifying young persons for whom the Child Element in Universal Credit and the individual Child Element of Child Tax Credit is payable. The new rules will apply to any children that join a family or are born after 6 April 2017.

‘NAWO argues that this ‘family cap’ will exacerbate women’s and children’s poverty by reducing family income and will have a disproportionate impact on families where larger numbers of children are more usual, including those from some religious communities, black and minority ethnic families, and refugee families.’

Four exceptions to this restriction were announced during the passage of the Bill and in the Summer Budget 2015. 


Exceptions to this restriction include children “born as a result of non-consensual conception or if the parent did not have the freedom or capacity to agree by choice. A condition is attached that the claimant must not be living at the same address as the other party to that intercourse.”

This is colloquially referred to as the rape clause, which NAWO argues will re-traumatise individual women who have survived rape by forcing them to disclose sexual violence at a time and in a context not of their own choosing, on pain of deeper impoverishment.

CLICK HERE for the Social Security amendment (from the House of Lords website).