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Campaigners look to lodge rape clause legal challenge

This news post is about 7 years old

A Scottish social enterprise has opened a crowdfunding campaign to pay for legal action

A law centre has launched a crowdfunding campaign to mount legal challenge to the controversial rape clause.

Glasgow-based Legal Spark Law Centre hopes to raise £5,000 over the next 30 days using the popular crowdfunding platform, CrowdJustice, to pay for legal opinion on the merits of taking a case to court.

The new tax credit family cap was introduced last month and limits tax credits to the first two children in a family.

The so-called rape clause becomes an issue when a woman who has a third child is entitled to apply for a "compassionate" exception - but only after proving she was raped.

Daniel Donaldson, the solicitor behind this campaign said: “We are the first legal practice to operate as a social enterprise. Part of our work involves campaigning on important issues affecting human dignity.

“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.”

Alison Thewliss, who as MP for Glasgow Central led the campaign to scrap the rape clause, said: "I commend Legal Spark on their crowdfunding initiative.

"The rape clause is an unworkable and immoral policy that forces women to relive the worst experiences of their lives to claim a benefit, and for that reason it must be challenged and opposed every step of the way."

If the legal challenege gets the go ahead the charity will crowdfund to pay for a court case.

Any surplus funds will be used to support work furthering equality, in accordance with CrowdJustice's terms and conditions.