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Acid is a word used by many. It’s used in school classrooms in science practicals where children groan at the amount of work they have to do, in clubs where people might be indulging a little too much on their big night out, and now it’s being used by the police. Unfortunately, this isn’t new slang for something completely unrelated, but rather as a response to the ever increasing acid attacks that have been ravaging the UK. With over 1,800 attacks since 2012 – this is a problem that’s becoming hard to ignore.

Acid is a highly corrosive substance, and so mixing it with human flesh can cause life threatening injuries as well as forcibly changing one’s bodily structure. In many cases this can be life changing. The effects of acid is not a simply myth that teachers make up to remind children to be wary in school, but rather can be quite a real horror. In this case, the acid used in these crimes will burn through skin until it is removed. It can often be the cause of permanent blindness along with heartbreaking disfigurement that the victims are made to endure as a result.

“A lot of times, when the patients are injured in this way, it’s because they’re not trying to kill the patients but cause them disfigurement and pain as opposed to death,” – Dr. Julie Caffrey

It is thought that the reason acid attacks are becoming so popular is the ease of access. Acid can be in cleaning substances in your local store, or in the cupboard under the kitchen sink. In fact, it’s so easy, that a 16 year old boy was recently charged with 15 acid related offences. It’s also likely that the four year sentence has something to do with it’s increasing popularity, although that’s now under higher scrutiny than it was before.

“My life is worth more than that.” –Jabed Hussain in reference to the attack

A startling point to note, however, is that the attacks in the UK are predominantly men going after other men. This draws away from comparisons from countries like India where the victims of the attacks appear to be mainly women. Despite that, the causes of these attacks are just as horrific. A man by the name of Jabed Hussain was assaulted with acid by two men who were trying to steal his bike. A senseless, ridiculous crime that may cause the victim distress for the rest of his life.

Should you see an acid attack, here is what you must do. To break it down into short, simple steps – you must first check to make sure that you are safe. That the perpetrators have left and that there is no possibility that the acid might seem onto your hands, clothes or any other part of your body. Call the ambulance. Then, as soon as possible, pour as much water on the affected areas of the victim as possible. Ideally this should last for 20 minutes or more. Do not let them put anything near their eyes and cut off clothes where acid might still be present.

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Fleur Henley
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When I'm not writing, I'm probably watching Netflix or shopping.

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