Child Maintenance Service

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th July 2020.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking with the Child Maintenance Service to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are protected from financial control.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Holding answer received on 25 June 2020

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is committed to ensuring that victims and survivors of domestic abuse get the support they need to use the CMS safely.

Parents who have experienced domestic abuse are exempt from paying the application fee. There are no ongoing charges for using Direct Pay, which is designed to be a safe service for victims of domestic abuse.

The CMS provides advice and support to help parents use the Service, without needing to have contact with an abusive ex-partner. This includes acting as an intermediary and providing information to parents about how to set up non-traceable payment methods. In addition, all CMS caseworkers have received specific training, developed with input from Women’s Aid, on domestic abuse so they can quickly identify parents who need additional support.

Those found to be abusing the system are subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will pursue these, where appropriate.

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