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Acid attacks on men related to gang culture

Posted in: Criminal Injury and Assault 

Experts have found a rise in acid-attack victims in England – with almost 100 male patients being treated in hospitals between 2012-2013 – is down to gang violence.  With 80% of the world’s acid-attack victims being female, figures in England show that 62% are male, with many of the incidents being gang-violence related. 

One former gang-member, Jermaine Joseph Lawlor, (who now works for a charity helping victims), said that acid attacks are used by gangs as a method of humiliation.  He said that unlike the scars of a knife attack, which hold the stereotypes of being dangerous or a “bad boy” in gang culture, acid scars are simply “degrading”.  People who have these scars are regarded with pity within gang communities.

“A cheap, quick and effective way of making your mark”

One researcher of the reasoning behind acid attacks in gang violence, Dr Loretta Trickett from Nottingham Law School, said: “What’s probably going on in a gang context, is this is a cheap, quick and effective way of making your mark”.  She views this method of disfigurement as a way of making the victim appear weak, suggesting that they were unable to defend themselves from the attack.  Dr Trickett also argued that most of these attacks would not always show up on criminal statistics, as they are often not reported to police.

One 40-year-old male victim, whom choses not to be identified, was attacked by two teenagers when walking home in Oldham earlier in the year; he described the attack in the following way: “It was a really bad burning sensation. As I was rubbing my face it felt like my skin was coming off. For the first couple of hours I thought I was going to lose my eyesight.

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