The rape clause is one of the most abhorrent policies produced by the Tory government.
It was introduced by the Conservatives on April 6, 2017, as part of measures to limit Child Tax Credit to two children. It forces women who have conceived a child as a result of rape to fill out an eight-page form to claim tax credits if it’s the woman’s third child.
Click here to read the form in full.
Last year, Kezia Dugdale used a Holyrood debate to read out the powerful and moving testimony from a woman who conceived a child following rape. You can watch her speech, which has been viewed more than 650,000 times, below:
MUST WATCH:This is everything you need to know about the Tories' disgusting rape clause. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale tells the story of a woman who had a child through rape, relied on tax credits, but would never fill in that 'awful form of shame.'Let people know what the Tories stand for. Share this now.
Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Tuesday, 25 April 2017
This week, one year since the policy was introduced, pressure was increased on the Tories to scrap the rape clause.
Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey claimed the rape clause helps women. Watch what she told MSPs here:
Esther McVey thinks the rape clause offers “help” and “support” to survivors of rape. Don’t be fooled, this is the same old nasty Tory party.
Posted by Scottish Labour Party on Monday, 16 April 2018
Esther McVey said: “People will be supported and shown to the various other organisations - and again this could give them an opportunity to talk about maybe something that’s happened that they never had before. So, it’s potentially double support there - they’re getting the money they need and maybe an outlet they might possibly need.”
In response, Labour MSP Pauline McNeill said:
“This was a disgraceful performance from a Work and Pensions Secretary who is completely out of touch with the reality of life for low income women on tax credits.
“To badge up the vile rape clause as some sort of virtuous policy to provide support is simply skin-crawling.
“The rape clause is a policy created by the Tory government’s ideological obsession to deliver tax cuts for the richest and big business paid for by cutting support for the poorest.
“Scotland has an opportunity to build a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect. Tory attempts to justify their welfare reform are getting more ludicrous by the day. The Tories should abolish the rape clause.”
Kezia Dugdale appeared on the BBC Daily Politics show to discuss the rape clause. She confronted Employment Minister Alok Sharma with the form. Watch the clip here:
Kez told Mr Sharma:
“You don’t understand the shame and the stigma associated with rape. The whole process of asking a woman to declare that she has been raped on a form to receive the tax credits that she was previously entitled to isn’t sensitive, it’s an abomination.
“I don’t think you’ve seen this form because on page 5, you have to write the name of the child, the child that was conceived because their mother was raped.
“And then the mother has to sign it. This, in your view, is sensitive?”
Labour MSP Monica Lennon wrote to Esther McVey following her Holyrood appearance.
“I found your defence of the so-called ‘rape clause’ as being somehow beneficial to women, or providing them with an ‘opportunity’ to talk about their experience of sexual violence, to be utterly offensive and insulting to sexual violence survivors.”
The Guardian also published a full-page editorial on the rape clause, which you can read by clicking here
Hundreds of people attended a demonstration in Edinburgh calling for the rape clause to be scrapped. She was joined by SNP MP Alison Thewliss and campaigners who have fought tirelessly to lift the two-child cap.
Watch Kez’s speech at the event here:
Here’s what Kez said:
“I’m here tonight to talk about three women: Alison Thewliss, Esther McVey and the woman who let me talk about the impact of the rape clause in parliament.
“I want to thank Alison Thewliss for her tireless work in exposing the rape clause. Without her, the Tories may have avoided the scrutiny they are now under.
“In contrast, you all heard Esther McVey’s utterly abhorrent comments earlier this week. The idea that women should have to declare that they’ve been raped to access the tax credits they were previously entitled to is just disgusting. It’s not increased support – it’s just plain wrong. Double support is a bra – it’s not a policy that supports women.
“In the Scottish Parliament I had the opportunity to read the personal testimony of a woman affected by the rape clause.
“’My child doesn’t know where they came from and if I have anything to do with it, they never will’, she said.
“’There is no way I could complete that awful form of shame, no matter what the consequences’.
“So for as long as the rape clause continues to exist, together we will campaign to scrap it.
“When people ask how can we make it better, the answer is we can’t. The only solution is to scrap the cap.”
A Labour government will scrap the rape clause across the entire UK. Read our UK manifesto - For the Many, Not the Few - by clicking on the image below.
Here’s what Jeremy Corbyn said last year:
“Labour will end the abhorrent rape clause across the UK.
“Kezia Dugdale’s powerful speech in the Scottish Parliament demonstrated the heart-breaking reality of the rape clause.
“Theresa May and Ruth Davidson should be ashamed of this policy.
“Only a Labour government that works for the many, not the few, can bring this policy to an end.”