With the rise in attacks, attention has been drawn to question who are behind these violent attacks. However, with 60% of attacks going unreported, it is hard to get an accurate representation of who is committing these offenses. With the records available, it tells us that in fact 74% of the suspects and 67% of the victims, were male. There has been a stigma that the victims were largely women. This assumption is possibly picked from other countries.
“Attacks in Bangladesh peaked at around 400 in 2002. Almost 70% of victims are women and girls. A study of 90 victims of attacks in Bangladesh found that 80% of the attacks occurred in the victims’ homes. Perpetrators are almost always men.”
The use of corrosive substances is becoming more prevalent in gang crime. With an influx in attacks between male on male the majority of those attacks are from gang revelry. The figures collected by the Metropolitan Police contradict the belief that the majority of suspects are from the Asian community. Mike West, Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police said “That does not ring true. It’s very mixed from various religions, backgrounds, different victims, different offenders.”
In fact, the UK has one of the highest recorded rates of violent acid attacks in the world. According to statistics, in 2016, four out of five victims were male. This however, was not always the case. Between 2007 and 2011, approximately 50 men and 50 women were attacked each year. Then, since 2012, male focused attacks have been on the rise, reaching 352 attacks in 2016.
“When it comes to suspects, men have consistently made up the majority, accounting for nearly three quarters over the whole of the last 15 years, and 77% in 2016. The proportion of female suspects has collapsed from around 20% ten years ago to just 2% last year, while the proportion of unknown suspects has doubled in the last 10 years to 20%.”
In 2017, Jabed Hussain was attacked while on a delivery job for UberEats. The attacker was Derryck John. Derryck was just 17 years of age and has recently been sentenced to 10 years in prison. On a moped, Derryck and his accomplice were able to carry out six attacks within half an hour. Moped gangs are becoming more popular as they are the quickest get away vehicle and can be easily maneuvered between traffic during a high speed chase with police.
Many people believe this to be a new trend in crime, however, it has been around for over 200 years. Dating back to Victorian times, corrosive substance abuse has been woven into our history, but only now has it come into the spot light with the rise in attacks over the last four years.
Written by Ellie Smeaton
Information gathered from The Metropolitan Police and Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI)