Acid attacks are ruining lives and costing Britain millions, according to figures released Monday by an advocacy group.
Acid Survivors Trust International said 950 people in Britain were the victims of acid attacks in 2017. The group said that the attacks cost Britain about $80 million a year.
Women and girls are the most common victims of acid attacks, although acid is also being used in crimes such as robbery.
“There is an obvious moral case for intervention, but these figures show that the costs associated with acid attacks are astronomical,” said ASTI executive director Jaf Shah, who said the cost of health services to victims whose skin is burned makes up a major share of the costs.
“As an organization, we are trying to make a clear case for intervention based on the damage done to survivors, but we know governments quite often determine policies (based) on the impact on the economy,” Shah said.
“We often recognize the physical, psychological and emotional toll that an acid attack has on a survivor, their family and friends, yet the economic burden … on society and the government as a result is often overlooked,” acid attack survivor Katie Gee of Zanzibar said in a statement to Newsmax.
Britain is considering a ban on the sale of acid to anyone under age 18, and a ban on having acid in a public place without a good reason.
Lyn Brown, a Member of Parliament, said the law is needed.
“This time last year the fear in my constituency about acid attacks was palpable. I heard about constituents of all ages and backgrounds afraid to leave their homes because perception was that these acid attacks were random. It was a crisis which needed a strong response from government, and I called for that,” she told the Newham Recorder.
“Some acid attacks are revenge, punishment or even an initiation right by junior members of criminally-run gangs,” she said, adding that adults who encourage children to carry or use acid should be punished as well.
“If an older man gives acid to a child and tells them to commit an attack, would that act of giving be covered by an offence in this bill? Could we prosecute the man who has given the acid to the child as effectively as if he had taken money from them?”
— Carl Quance ⭐⭐⭐ (@CinderellaMan2) July 5, 2018
Acid attacks are not the only form of crime rising in Britain.
During 2018, 51 people have been stabbed to death in London alone, The Sun reported.
Through April, London had recorded 1,296 stabbings, the Metropolitan police reported, with additional reports of stabbings taking place nearly every day in June.
The rise in knife crime in London has led to crime figures that are 23 percent above 2017’s figures.
(The featured image associated with this article is of acid attack victim Asiya Bibe, 35, who was attacked in Pakistan, not the U.K., in 2012. This image is used for illustration only, and it not meant to imply that she was attacked in the U.K. — Ed. note)
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