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We always knew Theresa May’s “hostile environment” extended to more people than immigrants and EU nationals.

She doesn’t like people from broken homes either. Perhaps it’s her puritanical, daughter-of-a-vicar blood.

Mrs May would prefer it if people – mostly women, of course – who suffer domestic abuse would suffer in silence, rather than burdening the Department for Work and Pensions with annoying claims for benefits.

Annoyingly – for her – the morals of the age require her government to present the appearance of one that cares when people come to harm.

So the DWP has devised a wealth of rules designed to make it seem it is doing its best for victims, while in fact keeping them in poverty and pain.

Alex Tiffin lists some of them on his Universal Credit Sufferer website:

There’s an entire page on getting help if you’re a victim of domestic abuse on the DWP website.

On the page it lists certain conditions, yes conditions, victims must meet.

They include;

“You will need written evidence from a person acting in an official capacity showing that:

  • your circumstances are consistent with those of a person who has had domestic violence or abuse inflicted, or threatened, upon them, during the 6 months prior to you notifying
  • you have made contact with the person acting in an official capacity to tell them about any incidents that have occurred in the past 6 months

“You must provide your evidence to Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible but no later than one calendar month after you first told us about the domestic violence and abuse.”

So a victim of domestic abuse not only has to open up to work coach about their abuse, then they get asked for proof?

The requirements do not end there. Once they’ve decided to accept that you have been a victim, you MAY be allowed a 13 week break from looking for work, but only if you satisfy the next set of criteria.

The most notable of them being,

“you have not had a 13 week break from work-related requirements as a result of previous domestic violence within the last 12 months”.

In some cases of domestic violence, the victim may return to their abuser. This is well known and it’s hard to think the DWP wouldn’t have known this.

This means a benefit claimant who’s endured repeated abuse, just has to battle on because they’ve been unfortunate enough to be abused twice in a year.

The simple fact is that life on benefits is appallingly hard – the Conservatives have deliberately made it so.

The system means survival is slightly easier for couples (at least, that has been This Writer’s experience) – and it is entirely possible that domestic abuse victims, in the impossible situation of being unable to find paying work and unable to survive under the cruel conditions of Universal Credit, end up believing they have no choice other than to return to their abuser.

Once there, DWP rules say they must stay for at least a year – no matter what abuse they suffer.

Some might even die.

But that’s why it’s called a “hostile environment”, you see.

The DWP won’t care because the death of a claimant is listed as a “positive benefit outcome”.

Information on where abuse victims can get genuine help is available in the Universal Credit Sufferer article.

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