#Gender Rights and Issues
UK Parliament
United Kingdom

We ask organisations and individuals to support women and children impoverished by the Benefit Cap after escaping violent relationships. The legal challenge brought by two single mothers and their children fleeing domestic violence was heard on 29 and 30 April at the Supreme Court and we anxiously await the ruling.

Solicitor Rebekah Carrier describes the Cap as ‘catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary’.

In Parliament, the Early Day Motion sponsored by John McDonnell MP calls on the government to lift the cap to protect current and potential victims of domestic violence. The government has been forced to respond to the many objections and since 10 April, some women in refuges and hostels are protected, but the majority – like the mothers and children in the legal challenge – are not.

For more information about the petition contact WAR
Tel: 020 7482 2496 war@womenagainstrape.net

About the legal challenge: Rebekah Carrier, Hopkin Murray Beskine. Tel: 020 7272 1234 www.hmbsolicitors.co.uk

• One third of women have suffered domestic violence. Every week two women are killed by partners or ex-partners, in England and Wales.

• The Benefit Cap limits a family’s total benefit to £500 per week, including rent and Child Benefit. Extortionate rents, including for some refuges and hostels, leave mothers and children with little or no income to live on.

• A test case is being fought in court on behalf of families impoverished by the Benefit Cap after escaping violence. So far, there is no exemption from the Cap for victims of violence.

• Many victims of violence are unable to get a job immediately or to move to a cheaper area – they need to stay close to friends and relatives for support, and time to recover and to reassure distressed children.

Women Against Rape was among the groups demonstrating at the High Court in October. We heard in court what the mothers and children have gone through, including living for years in run-down housing.

They are represented by Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine, who describes the Cap as catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary:

"Two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners, and they now face a stark choice between descending further into poverty and risking losing their homes, or returning to their abusers in order to escape the imposition of the cap."

Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape says:

“We call on the government to put the safety of women and children first by lifting the Benefit Cap so no one is trapped in a violent a relationship where they risk injury, trauma and even death.”

We call on the government to put the safety of women and children first by lifting the Benefit Cap so they are not trapped in violent relationships where they risk injury, trauma and even death.

(If you are signing on behalf of an organisation, please indicate so in the last name box.)

Endorsed by: Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Legal Action for Women, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities).

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The Scrap the Benefit Cap which Traps Women and Children in Violent Relationships petition to UK Parliament was written by Women Against Rape and is in the category Gender Rights and Issues at GoPetition.