The government cruelly appeals against every court win which upholds our benefit rights and protects vulnerable claimants. But the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has refused the DWP permission to appeal against the mum fleeing domestic violence and her son, who finally won against the bedroom tax at the ECHR in October 2019 — after a battle lasting six years.
In 2016, we criticised the majority UK Supreme Court judges, who among other cases, ruled that the mum and her son living in fear of violence from her ex-partner at their new address, did not deserve to be exempted from bedroom tax imposed on them for having a specially-built “panic room” made for their safety. The bedroom tax deduction from Housing Benefit creates rent arrears and the risk of eviction, and Discretionary Housing Payments which are supposed to help, are limited.
We said: “We are worried that women and children are going to die as a result of the ruling on women fleeing domestic violence. There’s no safety for them in this judgment. [The judges] are picking and choosing in disability cases. Why should people have to lose their homes?”
Report shared from the Daily Mirror:
DWP told Bedroom Tax domestic violence discrimination ruling is final
The Government tried to defend its policy of slashing housing benefit for women who had been given panic rooms under a police scheme
Judges at the European Court of Human Rights ruled in October that the benefit cut discriminated against a domestic violence victim who was forced to pay extra for her panic room.
Lawyers for the Department for Work and Pensions demanded the case be heard in the court’s Grand Chamber – seeking to overturn the ruling.
But the request was rejected – meaning the ruling stands and is final.
The victim’s legal team are now calling for the government to make changes to the law immediately.
They say almost 300 more victims of domestic violence are in the same situation.
“She is a vulnerable single parent who has been a victim of rape and assault, and she lives in a property which has been specially adapted by the police, at great expense, to protect her and her child.
“She has had to fight the UK Government for seven years to protect her right to be safe in her own home.