New measures to support domestic abuse survivors make child maintenance claims

Victims of domestic abuse will be protected from having direct contact with abusive ex-partners regarding child maintenance under new laws due to be introduced.

Parents will be given the choice to allow the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to collect and make payments on their behalf without the consent of an abusive ex-partner.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said this will prevent perpetrators from using child maintenance as a form of ongoing financial abuse and control.

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

The DWP said these changes come after the department commissioned Dr Samantha Callan, a leading expert on domestic abuse, in the autumn of 2021 to review CMS support for parents who had experienced domestic abuse in setting up a child maintenance arrangement.

Minister for Work and Pensions Viscount Younger of Leckie said: “Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime and we are doing everything in our power to support survivors to make child maintenance claims safely and without fear.

“We have strengthened the ways in which the Child Maintenance Service can support survivors in making a maintenance claim safely.

“I am grateful to Dr Samantha Callan for recognising this and for her vital work which will protect more parents from abuse, bring more perpetrators to justice and help keep families safe.”

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