Jobless women who suffer sexual and domestic violence are being wrongly penalised by losing all or part of their benefits, according to a report published today.
The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, criticised the Department for Work and Pensions for not publicising rules which allow flexibility in imposing benefit sanctions on victims of violence by their partner.
Its inquiry team, which included Sir Keir Starmer, the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, found that women facing domestic violence had their Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) cut for missing Jobcentre appointments and training courses. Lone parents and women who did not speak good English suffered the same fate.
The inquiry heard evidence that women were warned their children would be taken into local authority care because they did not have enough income after losing their JSA.