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Child maintenance changes to help DA survivors

Domestic abuse victims in England and Wales will be able to allow the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to collect and make payments on their behalf, without the consent of an abusive ex-partner.

This will prevent perpetrators from using the benefit as a form of ongoing financial abuse and control, and reduce the need for victims to contact their former partner, according to the Westminster government.

The CMS will also have new powers to report suspected cases of financial coercion to the Crown Prosecution Service to help bring abusers to justice.

The planned changes come after the Department for Work and Pensions commissioned domestic abuse expert Samantha Callan to review CMS support for parents arranging child maintenance after experiencing domestic abuse.

Welcoming the changes, Refuge’s chief executive officer Ruth Davison said: “Refuge repeatedly hears from survivors that perpetrators are evading paying child support and that the Child Maintenance Service is doing nothing to enforce the payment, forcing women and their children into financial hardship and poverty.”

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