Report No. 226
Acid attacks and their Consequences
As stated earlier acid attacks are a form of violence against women, where the perpetrator splashes a person or object with acid in order to deface or kill them. 3 Although acid throwing, also known as vitriol age, has been a form of violence known to be committed throughout history, there has been a steep rise in the cases documented in recent years, particularly in certain South Asian countries. Some of this increase has been attributed to better documentation of cases and also to the fact that victims of attacks have begun to report an attack more often. However, there appears to be a substantive increase in the number of acid attacks that are being committed in recent times due to various factors.
Acid attacks are seen as one of the most vicious crimes as it causes perpetual suffering to the victim. As acid melts flesh and even the bones of a person, it causes an unparalleled degree of pain to the victim and leaves her mutilated and scarred as well as giving permanent disabilities at times such as blindness. Victims face lifetime physical, social, psychological and economic consequences.
Some of the well known effects of acid are as under:
- Acids are corrosive substances that will cause visible necrosis (death) of human skin tissue and will even corrode a metal in higher concentration.
- They can cause serious poisoning, burning and serious injury can result from exposure to strong acids.
- Commonly available acids include Sulphuric acid, Hydrochloric acid Hydrofluoric acid, Phospaic acid etc. Acids are used in laboratories and factories/industries.
- In an acid attack the skin is the main organ of contact. The effects of acid on the skin may include redness, and burns. In severe cases, it could lead to shock and death. Some other effects include permanent hair loss and scaring. If inhaled in large quantity it can also lead to pulmonary disorders.
The consequences of acid attack have been well documented and include the following1.
1. These consequences are listed; Living in the Shadows: Acid Attack in Cambodia, 2003 LICADHO Report.