Acid throwing or vitriolage is a form of violent assault. Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims (usually at their faces), burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones.
The consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body.
These attacks are common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other Asian countries.
According to Taru Bahl and M.H. Syed, 80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 40% are under 18 years of age.
There is a high survival rate amongst victims of acid attacks. Consequently the victim is faced with physical challenges, which require long term surgical treatment, as well as psychological challenges, which require in-depth intervention from psychologists and counsellors at each stage of physical recovery.
Depression and anxiety are common amongst all patients with large burn injuries;
however for victims with acid injuries the physical scarring can lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment, resulting in the survivor living a life in hiding due to fear of prejudice and stigma from their peers and the community.
Many survivors continue to have vivid memories of the incident which cause great levels of distress, especially when they know their attackers are free to attack again.