SNP MP Angela Crawley has described as “cruel and callous” the practice of charging women fleeing domestic violence when they use the Child Maintenance Service to obtain payment from their former partner.

Crawley called the charges unfair after it emerged the UK Government had made more than £11 million out of family misery but little more than £100,000 from extra enforcement action on non-paying parents.

Three separate charges were brought in during the summer of 2014, including charging parents who use the service to process payments. However, this has prompted criticism about the impact on those who have suffered domestic violence.

Crawley said survivors may feel they have no option but to use the service, sparking fears that giving their abuser personal bank details will allow them to access other personal information.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says the charges make up a fraction of the cost of running the service, and encourage parents to consider their options.

Crawley, the SNP’s spokeswoman for children, women and equalities, said: “It is near impossible for women who have escaped abuse to share details with an ex-partner.

“These unfair charges will disproportionately impact survivors of domestic abuse, who feel they have no option but to use the service as they are too frightened to have a direct link to their abuser.

“I am very concerned that this is a cruel and callous tax on child support and that ultimately it is the children who will lose out on money intended to support them.

“It is the responsibility of the UK Government to do everything in its power to protect children from falling into poverty.”

The three charges are a £20 application fee for using the service in the first place, enforcement charges for non-payment, and collection charges for using the “collect and pay” service, for those who get the service to administer the payments.

A written parliamentary question from Chris Stephen, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, show the UK Government has received £11.2m between June 2014, when the charges were introduced, and March 2016.

Collect and pay services account for £8.6m of this, with £2.5m coming from application fees and just £140,000 from enforcement.

The money made from services has been increasing every month since they were launched.

In March, the latest month for which figures are available, the services brought in about £950,000, including £650,000 from collect and pay.

Under collect and pay, paying parents must pay a 20 per cent collection fee on top of their usual child maintenance amount. Receiving parents must pay a four per cent collection fee that is deducted from their payment.

MPs and campaigners say the charges disproportionately hit those fleeing domestic violence, and discourage poorer parents from using the services altogether.

Advisers can waive the application fee for domestic violence victims, with about one third of applicants having the exemption applied. However, no such exemption exists for the collection services.

A DWP spokesman said: “The Child Maintenance Service continues to be largely paid for by the government. Charges make a very modest contribution to the costs involved. We encourage parents to pause and consider the different options available before applying to the service by default.

“We also actively pursue those parents who fail to meet their financial responsibilities and in nine out of 10 of cases, parents are paying towards the money owed.”

Running child maintenance services costs the tax-payer £230m a year. More than £3.5 billion of arrears remains outstanding, according to the latest government statistics.

The government now has the power to refer those who fail to pay support to credit reference agencies, but has not done so more than 18 months after the legislation was introduced.