Data released towards the end of last year shows that the UK has seen over 2,000 acid attacks in less than three years with London being the centre of the violence. This data was collected from 30 of the UK police forces.
According to the Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) the UK has per capita one of the highest rates of acid attack in the world.
Many of these attacks have led to life-changing injuries for the victims and in some cases, even death.
The Home Office is currently drawing up draft legislation targeting acid attacks, which could bring in punishments for anyone carrying corrosive substances without justification and restrict purchases.
But the current law means that police officers need adequate suspicion to stop potential attackers or proof of malicious intent, and are unable to test seized substances in the street.
The problem is that most of the chemicals used in these violent attacks are legitimate substances that often have household uses and can be found in many of our cupboards.
What to do Following an Acid Attack
Whether you are a victim of an acid attack yourself or are a witness to an attack, you need to act fast.
The first thing you will need to do is to make sure that the area around the victim is safe and to take measures, such as wearing gloves, so you don’t come into contact with the chemical.
The most effective action to take is to try and flood the burn with water to disperse the chemical and stop the burning, it said. Bottled water is fine for this if it is the only thing to hand.
Try and douse the burn with water for at least 20 minutes, ensuring that no contaminated puddles are allowed to collect under the victim.
If there is any clothing on the victim that has the substance on them, you will need to try and remove them while flooding the injury. Call an ambulance as soon as you can.
If the substance has entered the victim’s eyes, hold their eye under gently running cold water for at least 10 minutes, thoroughly irrigating the eyelid both inside and out.
Do not allow the casualty to touch the injured eye, as they may have acid on their hands, and do not forcibly remove a contact lens.
Make sure that contaminated water does not splash the uninjured eye. If needed, ask the victim to hold a clean, non-fluffy pad over the injured eye, and arrange to send them to hospital.