Charities and hospitals are reporting a rise in acid attacks, which is often a method of revenge on an individual or group:
In parts of the developing world – particularly south-east Asia, the south Asian subcontinent and east Africa – acid attacks are common. The Taliban and fellow extremists have frequently resorted to throwing acid in women’s faces for even small transgressions, such as daring to go out unveiled. But there are concerns that such attacks may also be on the increase in the UK.
Hospital admission figures for the past three years show a steady rise in the number of people being treated for acid attacks. According to the NHS information centre, 44 people were admitted to hospital in 2006-07 after they were “assaulted with a corrosive substance”. The following year the figure jumped to 67 and last year there were 69 admissions.
As Rick Trask, one of Britain’s leading researchers on acid attacks, pointed out, it is not unique to any culture, but is usually gender-based (often aimed at women, or men who have had relationships with the ‘wrong’ women) and is a deliberate attempt to scar the victim. Meanwhile, Diana Nammi and Jasvinder Sanghera, heads of the charities IKWRO and Karma Nirvana respectively, report a significant number of phone calls from women from Middle Eastern and South Asian backgrounds worried about potential acid attacks on them.
The police and the state have done some good work in combating ‘honour’-based violence, but this is a new and disturbing trend in the fight against it.
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