A woman who has a specially adapted home after being a victim of rape, assault, harassment and stalking has raised a legal challenge against the bedroom tax.
She says the government's tax on housing benefits is discriminatory as it would have devastating consequences for herself and her son.
The woman, know as 'A' to keep her identity protected, issued judicial review proceedings against the secretary of state for Work and Pensions on Friday 24th May.
She has a three bedroom adapted home for herself and her son; as she was a victim of rape, assault, harassment and stalking, which has a panic room installed by the police with reinforced doors, electric alarms and alarms linked to the police station.
This means that she is having 14% of her housing benefit deducted for having a room deemed as a spare room, and she says this is discriminatiory, as it is not feasible for her to move house or to take a lodger (which are the government's suggestions).
The legal claim is being supported by the charity Women's Aid, as her legal team argue that Iain Duncan Smith has failed to take into account the disproportionate impact of the bedroom tax upon victims of domestic violence and lone parents, who are generally women.
Ms Carrier from her legal team said the changes to housing benefit were having a ‘catastrophic impact' on vulnerable people:
Our client's life is at risk and she is terrified. She lives in a property which has been specially adapted by the police, at great expense, to protect her and her child. It is ridiculous that she is now being told she must move to another property (where she will not have any of these protections) or else take in a lodger.
She is a vulnerable single parent who has been a victim of rape and assault. The secretary of state cannot seriously suggest that it is appropriate for her to take a stranger into her home.
A spokesperson for the DWP said:
We are confident that these measures are lawful and they do not discriminate against any groups.
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