Children: Maintenance

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 21st February 2019.

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Photo of Angela Crawley Angela Crawley Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Disabilities), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Pensions), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Youth affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Children and Families), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has plans to review the four per cent collection charge on child maintenance payments for victims of domestic abuse.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

My Department is fully committed to supporting victims of domestic abuse to ensure they receive the help and support they need to use the Child Maintenance Service safely.

Charging is key to our policy of encouraging collaboration between separated parents and research shows that receiving parents who have received a waiver of the £20 application fee due to reporting domestic abuse are just as likely to have an effective arrangement as other receiving parents.

The Child Maintenance Service is designed to be a safe service for victims of domestic abuse and support includes:

  • ensuring staff are trained to respond sensitively to domestic abuse issues.
  • facilitating the exchange of bank details.
  • ensuring personal information is not shared.
  • providing information about setting up bank accounts with a sort code, which do not allow parents to be traced.
  • waiving the £20 CMS application fee.
  • signposting to organisations able to provide parents with specific support on the issue of domestic abuse.

We remain of the view that there is no evidence to justify a change to the charging structure but we continue to keep our policy under review.

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