Pregnant by rape and forced to pay child support

In 2010, a young woman became a mother. Not by choice, but sexual assault. Grace, as we'll call her, was only a child.

"I had my baby at 16 and I wasn't ready to be a mother at the time because of a lot of childhood issues," she told Newshub Nation.

Grace still deals with the consequences of the attack.

"It's really made me see relationships differently. I don't feel like I can have true closeness with another person."

She was too traumatised to go to police about her attacker, and he wasn't named on the birth certificate. Grace's baby went into the care of Grace's mother, who we're calling Tamara.

Because she was not in sole care of her child, 16-year-old Grace started being billed $17 a week in child support by Inland Revenue. This meant she built up a debt to the Government before she even became old enough to receive a benefit.

Every letter she got from IRD reminded her of the attack.

"Those letters just flipped me out. It brought back the emotional trauma and things like that, like why can't they just f**ken' leave us alone and shit, people are trying to live with their shitty selves."

The impact on Grace was devastating for her mother.

"I think my stress was coming more from what I've seen my daughter go through... What any mother would do, how can I fix this, make it okay for my girl?"

Grace told her social worker in 2011 about what happened to her, a written disclosure Newshub Nation has seen.

Tamara and Grace then started emailing and calling everyone they could, pleading for the payments to cease.

In 2016, Grace wrote a letter to Inland Revenue.

"I am writing to request the full return of child support payments. I was 15 years old when I was raped. During the years it has been very traumatic receiving letters to pay for the experience I have been through."

Tamara even emailed five different ministers in the last Government and the office of the current Social Development Minister, Carmel Sepuloni.

"My daughter has paid so much for being raped. I am asking that the law around this be amended and all monies are given back to her to help fund her healing, confidence and security. Can you please help?"

It was only in March 2019, almost eight years later that Tamara says Grace's child support payments finally stopped.

But not before Tamara says Grace had thousands taken from her benefit.

"I'd like to see is that all the child support that my daughter is paid get given back to her."

Watch the video for the full story.

Newshub Nation.

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