DWP says; it “does not make referrals” to foodbanks. Nor record victims of Domestic Abuse

Following an Freedom of Information – FOI request I submitted to the Department for Work and Pensions – DWP, in mid June, I can now report on their reply. It’s well, astounding and likely another lie.

I submitted an FOI request to the DWP in mid June to get some statistics on four specific areas. NB: All were asked to cover the last five years.

  • The number of victims of domestic abuse they’ve helped and types of help
  • The number of domestic abuse victims denied help under the 12 month rule
  • The number of foodbank referrals made by Jobcentre Plus staff

Domestic Abuse – Victim Support

Female abuse victim cowering with clinched foist over her

The reason I was asking about the number of victims of domestic abuse helped and those turned away is because of a previous article I wrote. In the article which you can click here to see, I had written about the strict rules the DWP force upon victims of abuse.

Any victim of domestic abuse looking for help from the DWP, must provide evidence to jobcentre staff that abuse or violence has taken place. Not only is this traumatic for the victim but, if not they face the possibility their partner will continue to receive their money.

The reason I asked about the number of victims they had turned away, was because under their rules, benefit claimants are only entitled to help; once every 12 months if they’ve been abused. So if they are a victim twice in a year, they get no help.

DWP FOI request
Domestic Abuse section of FOI response

As you can see from the DWP’s response, they do not keep records of the number of victims they’ve helped or turned away.

I can sort of understand no records existing of the number they’ve turned away, as they’d be keen to hide that. But surely keeping a tally of how many people are suffering and how they are helping would be something they kept an eye on?

What’s more, if no records are kept, how can they know who’s had help previously so as to deny them help next time? Lets be realistic here, there’s no way they’d miss a chance to deny someone help.

Foodbank Referrals – Sorry, “Signposting Service”

It appears that the DWP has an issue with saying that they “refer” benefit claimants to foodbanks. Rather they prefer to use the term

“signposting service to customers who have expressed an interest in using a foodbank.”

FOI
Foodbank section of FOI

This is an out and out LIE. I have been referred to a foodbank by my local jobcentre plus on who knows how many occasions.

The term “customers who’ve expressed an interest in using a foodbank,” nearly knocked me off my wheelchair. People do not express interest, they are starving and ask them for help. What kind of sick joke is this?

The author of the response seems extremely keen to point out that; they “do not make referrals.” I wonder why? Could it be that then they are admitting that their ‘flagship’ policy is failing?

Furthermore, their lack of record keeping in what is now a known, (and has been for some time), major issue facing Universal Credit claimants is utterly astounding.  Just two weeks ago the National Audit Office reported that foodbank use is rocketing in Universal Credit areas. As did a Trussell Trust study they undertook with Cambridge University.

I’ll leave you to come to your own conclusions as why they don’y keep these records. In my opinion the Department for Work and Pensions is out of control with no real plan on moving forward.

As BBC Journalist Michael Buchanan said; “Talking to the Department for Work and Pensions about Universal Credit is like talking to some sort of flat earth movement.”

He couldn’t be more correct.

Alex

@RespectIsVital on Twitter and Universal Credit Sufferer on Facebook

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