I said it defied belief when this story first broke.
And I said it was sickening when, hearing of the terror he was causing a rape victim by using the Bedroom Tax to make it too expensive for her to keep a ‘panic room’, Iain Duncan Smith laughed.
Well, it seems the last laugh is on him.
This is a story that began in 2014 – the DWP has been torturing a rape victim for five years.
The woman, resident in a three-bedroom property with her 11-year-old son, has been the victim of rape, assault, harassment, stalking and threats to kill at the hands of her former partner.
Her council home was fitted with a secure panic room to protect her from this violent man.
A women’s refuge charity spent thousands of pounds at her property reinforcing window frames and the front door and making the back garden more secure. A panic space was installed, with alarms linked to the police station.
Then Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions imposed the bedroom tax on it, claiming it was a spare room.
The woman’s housing benefit was reduced by 14 per cent because of the bedroom tax policy.
Hers was among almost one in 20 households benefiting from similar sanctuary schemes for people at risk of severe domestic violence that have been affected by the under-occupancy penalty.
Unable to afford her rent with the added burdn of the under-occupancy charge, the woman was facing eviction when Labour raised the issue in Prime Minister’s Questions. Then-incumbent David Cameron said money was available for people in such a predicament.
And Mr Duncan Smith? He laughed about it. He thought it was funny that a woman who had been raped was being turfed out of her sanctuary against further violation.
So the DWP appealed against the decision in order to force her to pay the charge anyway – or be evicted.
And the Supreme Court – to its shame – allowed it.
So the case ended up before the European Court of Human Rights*, challenging the breach of A’s rights and “other vulnerable women whose lives are at risk”.
Almost three years after her Supreme Court humiliation, judges ruled that the benefit cut discriminated against a domestic violence victim who was forced to pay extra for her panic room.
The UK’s Tory government has been ordered to pay the woman 10,000 Euros (£8,600) for the “damage she suffered”. If only it could come from Iain Duncan Smith’s salary.
Lawyers have now demanded the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) act to help almost 300 women estimated to be in a similar situation.
Clearly, considering the length of time it has taken to resolve this case, nobody should hold their breath waiting.
All the way back in 2014, Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “On average two women every week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. Protecting abused women and their children is a matter of life and death, and we should always remember this.”
Iain Duncan Smith couldn’t care less at the time, and none of his successors have shown any change in attitude since.
Isn’t it time we stopped them from abusing anybody else?
*Not to be confused with the EU’s European Court of Justice.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: