Acid violence is the deliberate use of acid to attack another human being. The victims of acid violence are overwhelmingly women and children, and attackers often target the head and face in order to maim, disfigure and blind. Acid has a devastating effect on the human body, often permanently blinding the victim and denying them the use of their hands. As a consequence, many everyday tasks such as working and even mothering are rendered extremely difficult if not impossible.
Acid attacks rarely kill but cause severe physical, psychological and social scarring, and victims are often left with no legal recourse, limited access to medical or psychological assistance, and without the means to support themselves. It is not possible to provide the support that survivors require through a single intervention like a cleft palate surgery or the construction of a water-well. In order to rebuild their lives, acid survivors need long-term access to a holistic programme of medical support, rehabilitation, and advocacy that can only be provided by a local organisation. In recognition of this, ASTI has set up a number of in-country partners that have access to a range of specialist medical expertise and knowledge through our international network of volunteers and partners.
Acid attacks are a worldwide phenomenon that are not restricted to a particular race, religion or geographical location. They occur in many countries in South-East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the West Indies and the Middle East, and there is anecdotal evidence of attacks in other regions. In many countries acid attacks constitute a hidden form of violence against women and children that often goes unreported, and the true number of horrific attacks taking place has only come to light after in-depth research by ASTI and its partners.