UK Has World’s Highest Rate of Acid Attacks – Data
In the aftermath of a horrifying chemical substance assault in southwest London last week, law enforcement is actively on the hunt for the suspected assailant, Abdul Ezedi, aged 35. The unsettling incident occurred in Clapham last Wednesday, leaving a total of 12 individuals injured, including a 31-year-old woman and her two young daughters, aged eight and three, who remain hospitalized. The gravity of the mother’s injuries has been classified as “life-changing.”
Disturbing data from Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), a UK-based charity addressing global incidents of acid attacks, underscores a disconcerting trend. Shockingly, the United Kingdom leads globally in the number of recorded acid attacks. ASTI’s 2022 data unveils a staggering 69% increase, with 710 recorded cases of assaults involving corrosive substances, compared to the previous year’s 421 cases. The peak of acid attacks occurred in 2017, with a shocking total of 941 cases.
London police, in their pursuit of Abdul Ezedi, have released crucial details about the alkaline substance employed in the assault on the mother and children. Laboratory tests have identified it as either liquid sodium hydroxide or liquid sodium carbonate—readily available for purchase online or in specialized hardware stores.
ASTI underlines the excruciating pain and immediate life-changing consequences inflicted by acid attacks. Alarming shifts in victim demographics emerge from 2022 data, indicating an increased frequency of attacks against women, signaling a concerning rise in violence targeting women and girls.
Responding to the escalating threat of corrosive substance attacks, the United Kingdom implemented stringent measures in 2022, augmenting the Offensive Weapons Act of 2019. These measures impose restrictions on the purchase of such substances, with a significant up to four-year prison sentence for possessing a dangerous chemical in a public area.
The existing UK Offences Against the Person Act of 1861 already deems the use of corrosive substances to inflict bodily harm a serious crime, carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.