From today across the UK, Child Tax Credits will only be available for the first and second child - unless a third or subsequent child is proved to be a result of rape.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) claim this "rape clause" will be implemented in a "compassionate" way, but can forcing a woman to disclose rape to receive welfare ever be compassionate? For us - Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid - the answer is no.

Rape is a horrific trauma and healing is a painful, difficult process.

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A huge part of healing is having control over how, and who, to tell about the experience.

Some people might never tell anyone.

Yet today a policy has been launched that could make women choose between poverty and disclosing - possibly for the first time -that they were raped.

This is a disgrace and may well re-traumatise women.

The DWP wanted us to participate - asked local women’s aid and rape crisis workers to sit down with women, work out whether the date of conception matched the date of the rape and tick a box.

To assess whether a woman’s experience could be trusted enough to give her £7.62 a day; enough money to put towards the electricity bill, maybe to buy a pair of school shoes.

The thing is, we do trust women.

When women access our services we believe them and support them to come to terms with their trauma.

For over 40 years in a society which frequently blames and shames victims, our stance has been revolutionary and necessary.

We’ve been asked why - if the policy is going ahead - we aren’t willing to play our part for those women who need it.

Local rape crisis worker Megan said: "To collude in this policy would compromise the trust survivors put in our services.

"The idea that a third party is required to verify what women are telling the government about their own lives feeds into a number of harmful rape myths - not least that women lie about rape.

"If survivors choose to access our support it should be a free and positive choice, not one borne out of fear of poverty.”

Working with the DWP to implement this policy would jeopardise the most critical relationship we have - the one we share with women who have experienced violence or abuse.

The risk is far too great.

Opinion piece by: Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland and Marsha Scott, Scottish Women’s Aid.