Pregnant woman beaten due to benefit cap, Labour conference hears

Pregnant woman beaten due to benefit cap, Labour conference hears

An abuser beat his pregnant partner to try to induce a miscarriage because they would lose benefits, an academic has told Labour.

The woman had refused to have an abortion so the man tried to force her to miscarry, the delegate said, because they already had two children and would not get benefits for a third due to the two-child cap.

Unison member Angie Smith, 46, shared the story from her research with the party conference in Liverpool to demonstrate the damage being caused by universal credit welfare reforms and the benefit cap.

Ms Smith, who is a domestic violence survivor, said: “One woman’s ex demanded she have an abortion because he said they could not get any more money for it, and when she said she didn’t want an abortion he beat her to try and make her miscarry.

“It’s all part of coercive control. Basically the guy’s focus is the money, which he was probably misappropriating.

“He would have been extremely angry that she had taken the liberty of getting pregnant.”

Another woman who had fled to a refuge was forced to return to the home where her abuser lived to find documents for a benefit claim, in another case from the research with domestic violence workers and survivors across the country.

“One woman couldn’t afford to replace her cooker because there was no crisis fund so her abuser violently assaulted her because he could not get a cooked meal,” she said.

“Another was sanctioned because she had fled, then reached the three-visit limit for the food bank so was surviving by selling off all her possessions in car boot sales.

“Other women who manage to leave their abusers end up in homes without carpets, curtains or a stick of furniture because the Government has got rid of all the crisis loans.”

Part of the problem is a lack of domestic violence training, Ms Smith said, but the bigger issue is the Government’s approach to dealing with vulnerable people.

She said: “My research found abusers were using universal credit as a tool for coercive control, often forcing women to live on allowances that are not even enough to buy nappies for their kids.

“Women are being left with no money at a time when they are severely traumatised and have been forced to leave nearly all their belongings behind.

“Benefits are meant to be part of a safety net but the safety net is virtually gone.”

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –