Single Universal Credit payment can lead to domestic abuse

Domestic abuse web

The government has been urged to split the payment equally between partners to prevent controlling behaviour

20th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Universal Credit payments should be split between men and women in households to help prevent domestic abuse.

Experts told Westminster’s work and pensions select committee this week that the single monthly household payment issued under the new system can make it easier for domestic abusers to seize and regulate family income and prevent partners from leaving the home.

Universal Credit rolls six working-age benefits into a single monthly payment with the aim of simplifying the social security system.

However, MPs have heard that the system can result in a partner further exerting control over their other half.

Demelza Lobb, the technology abuse lead at the Refuge charity, said the uncertainty and stress caused by Universal Credit delays had led to several women going back to their abusive partners.

“They say: ‘It might be easier, at least I’ll have an income, I’ll be able to get food,’” she said.

Charities reported that workers are spending increasing amounts of time trying to sort out benefit problems for victims of domestic violence, at the expense of the wider direct support they could offer.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Abuse in any form is completely unacceptable, and Jobcentre Plus staff do everything they can to make sure people fleeing domestic abuse get the help they need as quickly as possible.

“That includes fast tracking advances so that people are not left without money and transferring a person’s claim to a different Jobcentre.”