Domestic violence victims challenging benefit cap
- 29 Jan
Families who have escaped domestic violence are set to challenge the benefit cap in the Court of Appeal.
The families are appealing a High Court decision in November which found that the £26,000 a year cap didn't breach human rights laws and were not disproportionate, reports Inside Housing.
Due to the benefits cap household benefits are limited to £500 per week. Campaign groups, which includes Women Against Rape, are arguing that this affects women who have fled their homes due to domestic violence and who are then hit with the benefit cap if they live in hostels or refuges with higher rents.
Solicitor Rebekah Carrier is representing the families. She said: "Two of the families have fled domestic violence in circumstances where they were financially reliant upon their abusive partners. 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 said: "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 relationship where they risk injury, trauma and even death."
The legal challenge also had the support from the Child Poverty Action Group, Shelter and the Women's Aid Federation.
A DWP spokesperson said: "We remain confident that the benefit cap measures are lawful. The benefit cap sets a fair limit to what people can expect to get from the welfare system - so that claimants cannot receive more than £500 a week, the average household earnings."
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Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "Sincere thanks to Michael Patterson for an excellent presentation on the HB Reform issues in Leeds last week, and for all the very helpful info and links. I do intend to respond on behalf of our organisation, Caring For Life, but feel that Support Solutions' response is excellent." E.S. - Caring for Life