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Leicester research into acid attacks presented in Home Office report

Researchers at the University of Leicester have published the first report of its kind examining attacks with acid and other corrosive substances.

Dr Matt Hopkins, Dr Lucy Neville and Professor Teela Sanders from the Department of Criminology trawled police records from eight different police forces, interviewed 25 offenders and consulted with a raft of experts from the criminal justice sector over the course of 18 months to produce the report for the Home Office.

Their research is the first study to examine the motives behind such attacks, and also questioned offenders on their reasons for using acid or another corrosive substance over other weapons.

Dr Matt Hopkins, Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of Leicester, said:

“This report paints a clear picture of the patterns of corrosive use in the UK and why offenders chose to carry and use corrosives, and represents a step forward and a platform on which future research can be built.

“However, it also points to reasons why weapons are carried and used generally. There are also a number of areas identified for preventative strategies.” 

The report analysed a number of areas, including the relationship between offenders and their victims, the corrosives used and the motives for such attacks.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said:

“I’m determined to rid our streets of the scourge of violent crime, including acid attacks, which leave terrible physical and emotional scars on their victims.

“This research will support the efforts of the Government and law enforcement to bear down on criminals, deliver safer streets, and reduce crime.”

Commissioned by the Home Office as part of the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, the report also sought to identify the reasons for offenders carrying and using corrosive substances, and makes a number of recommendations for future preventative strategies.

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