DWP require proof of domestic abuse before they’ll help you.
“The claimant must move out of the household and is required to provide written evidence to their work coach that they are receiving help for domestic abuse before the easement can be granted.”
This is the shocking statement made by Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, (PCS), reveals how low the Department for Work and Pensions will really go.
This was just one of the issues Mr Serwotka raised in a letter to MP Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee.
When I read this I wasn’t surprised, but to be sure I checked it out. Sure enough there’s even an entire page on it on the DWP website, part of it I quoted below.
“You will need written evidence from a person acting in an official capacity showing that:
- your circumstances are consistent with those of a person who has had domestic violence or abuse inflicted, or threatened, upon them, during the 6 months prior to you notifying DWP
- you have made contact with the person acting in an official capacity to tell them about any incidents that have occurred in the past 6 months
You must provide your evidence to Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible but no later than one calendar month after you first told us about the domestic violence and abuse.”
So a victim of domestic abuse not only has to open up to work coach about their abuse, then they get asked for proof?
This conditions do not end there, when they’ve decided to accept that you have been a victim, you may be allowed a 13 week break from looking for work if, you satisfy the next set of conditions. One of them being, “you have not had a 13 week break from work-related requirements as a result of previous domestic violence within the last 12 months”.
In some cases of domestic violence, the victim may return to their abuser. The government and DWP will be well aware of this. So a benefit claimant who’s endured repeated abuse, just has to battle on now?
It is becoming widely accepted that the DWP like the Home Office has its own Hostile Environment policy. While I realised that their polices targeted the most vulnerable in our society, I didn’t realise that they went so low.
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS Union
Mr Serwotka was writing to the Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into Universal Credit to reveal, it’s members had reported that the training they receive on how to deal with domestic abuse victims ” lacks detail” with many stating; no training whatsoever is being delivered.
Mr Field MP, said of the letter “The lack of training and expertise at the front line in Jobcentre Plus is a thread running through all of our benefits inquiries – and now it is becoming apparent to the public how this is leaving them unprepared to deal with the most vulnerable claimants.”
This adds to the growing list of problems caused by the Government’s welfare reform policies.
Last week I reported that Trussell Trust end of year figures showed an average rise of 52% in referrals to areas, were Universal Credit’s full service had been in operation for 12 months or more.
It’s becoming clear that there is little evidence to show Universal Credit is getting more people into work, compared to legacy benefits like Jobseekers Allowance.
It does make me wonder what will it take for the government to admit that the system doesn’t work in helping the majority of claimants.
If you have been, or are a victim of domestic abuse help can be found in many places such as Women’s Aid, for women and Mankind, for Men, helpline details below.
- women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
- men can call the Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244
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Jesus Christ this is horrifying!
As a child of domestic abuse both physical and psychological from a terrifying step father,my mother, sisters and myself know only too well the veil of secrecy we all covered ourselves with due to the fear of speaking out, terrified of what he’d do to us if he found out,but also the shame of opening yourselves up to strangers. To then have to keep a log of the abuse suffered over the previous months just isn’t possible, especially when you become so traumatised by violent events at a young age.
More examples of the Tories Hostile Environment designed to deny claimants,of whatever welfare,their rights to that deserved welfare.
I agree hostile environment at its worst..as a victim of domestic abuse I know how this would have made me feel. Trapped…
Plus to not help if you’ve had help within previous 12 months is irresponsible.
Domestic abuse includes fiscal, emotional and sexual abuse. How is it possible to provide evidence of these forms of abuse? CCTV in the bedroom? Someone in the home spying on your every movement? Disgusting!!!
My thoughts, too.
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Trigger warning: DV, rape
God. From the age of 13-19 I lived with my abusive stepdad. My Mum left after I moved away for uni (to a different country!) No physical abuse that I know of, but he was a master of emotional and verbal abuse, and we heard him raping my Mum at night on a regular basis. She was ground down to a nub of who she had been, and because she was so concerned with appearances, she didn’t tell anyone. It took her years to recover. There’s no way she could have told someone about it to get benefits. It took her 8 years to talk to me about it.
I was in my own abusive relationship for 3 years. We lived together for 2 of them. Emotional, verbal abuse, and coercive sex for 2 years. It was horrible. I talked to a therapist about it, but we started couples counseling with him, and my partner charmed him, and he began to think that it was me who had a problem. I loved my partner, and I didn’t tell friends about it because they didn’t really like him. Eventually I barely saw my friends. I knew that he was f**ked up, but so was I. I thought we could help each other to heal. I only woke up because he became physically violent. I left. How could I have gotten benefits during this?
I truly believe that this government and by default those at the DWP see the poor and infirm as being less than human..
More than that, I also believe they see those in sever need as deserving nothing but contempt. How else can you explain forcing rape victims to prove their child is the product of an assault and making a domestic violence victim prove their life is a living hell?
Is this how they get their jollies because it really does look like it. Sadistic bastards.
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Unfortunately, people lie, people lie a lot. As soon as they don’t ask for proof, or are told they cant or shouldn’t ask for proof, they will be taken to the cleaners by anyone with a defective moral compass. Not nice but true.
It is however unfortunate that the ‘universal credit’ system has put victims of abuse in the situation where they would need to make special requests for independent payments.
Unless anyone on here wants to send me some cash no questions asked? didnt think so.
I grew up watching a family member be abused, then ended up in an abusive relationship (not physical) myself. It took me three years to realize that he wasn’t going to get better, and I was a shadow of myself by the time I got out. Faking that devastation would be pretty darned hard.
Besides, who on earth would lie about being in an abusive relationship? They only have to do this because UC screws with people who are living together. It doesn’t get you anything extra.
DV is very hard to prove if it is emotional/mental abuse. I am a victim of emotional/mental abuse that spanned years. I didn’t even realise I was being abused, I blamed myself. I was so severely depressed I had no clue how bad my relationship was…. I was utterly deluded about my abuser, in awe of him. AND so…. although I managed to get away from him eventually….doing it cost me absolutely everything. By the time I got any help, I ended up in psychiatric care, that was 2010. I have paid dearly since, seriously it has destroyed me mentally and emotionally. I have autism and so the damage is fairly intense due to this vulnerability…. I have been ostracised and isolated now for a few years and it is very hard to cope. Your article is brilliant, however in my experience, Domestic Violence is NOT taken seriously unless there has been physical abuse. I would rather have been beaten than go through the torment I have endured at the hands of a very nasty sneaky person. The person in question is so bitter, twisted and controlling …. but he acts like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.. as long as he is getting his own way. Our country is not equipped to deal with psychological abuse. The law does not protect victims in terms of long term damage….. the law is broken daily sadly, and it seems there is very little anyone can do about it. That is life I guess. The eye opener for me has been just how little support there actually is for anyone that has been mentally abused within their families.