Child maintenance changes put domestic abuse survivors in danger

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has called on the UK Government to “stop putting domestic abuse survivors at risk” and scrap the 4% “tax on child support” being introduced for processing child maintenance payments.

The Child Support Agency – which processes child maintenance payments between parents – is closing down and will be replaced by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Changes to how the service operates means that the parent caring for the children will either be charged a 4% collection fee (for administrative costs) for using the service or must give their bank details to the other parent directly in what is known as a “family-based” arrangement. Survivors of domestic abuse have raised concerns about the unfair charges for the new CMS as in many cases they are too frightened to establish a family-based arrangement for fear that their abuser will be able to access other personal details.

Angela Crawley MP, the SNP’s spokesperson for Children, Women and Equalities, said:

“It is all very well for the UK Government to encourage parents who have separated amicably to set up their own arrangements for paying child support but this is just not a feasible option for survivors of domestic abuse who often rely on these payments as a way of establishing a safe and independent life for themselves and their children.

“And so their only other option is to be charged a tax on child support payments that they are entitled too – the UK Government have shown a complete lack of compassion by introducing this charge and even worse, they actually risk putting the lives of domestic abuse victim-survivors and their children in real danger.

“The Government must look again at this unfair tax and listen to the cross-party calls to scrap it – ultimately, it will be the children that child maintenance payments are intended to support who will lose out.”