Thank you for contacting me about acid attacks.
I too am concerned about the use of acid and other corrosives in violent attacks, which often leave victims with terrible life-changing injuries and trauma. There is no place in society for these sickening attacks and I want to see the Government working with all the appropriate agencies to tackle this problem and prevent further victims.
It is right that an action plan to tackle acid attacks has been announced, and I am very glad to see that victims and survivors will be at the centre of the strategy aimed at reducing the number and impact of attacks.
As part of the action plan, the Crown Prosecution Service's guidance to prosecutors will be reviewed to ensure it makes clear that acid and other corrosive substances can be classed as dangerous weapons, and what is required to prove intent. In addition, the Poisons Act 1972 will be reviewed to assess whether it should cover more acids and harmful substances, and the Home Office will work with police and the Ministry of Justice to assess whether the powers available to the courts, including sentencing, are sufficient to deal with these serious offences.
These measures will form part of a wide-ranging review of the law enforcement and criminal justice response, existing legislation, access to harmful products and the support offered to victims. New guidance will also be provided to police officers on preventing attacks, searching potential perpetrators for harmful substances and responding to victims at the scene. Further work will also take place with retailers to agree measures to restrict sales of acids and other corrosive substances.
There must be appropriate support available to victims, from the initial medical response to giving evidence in court and beyond, and victims must feel confident in coming forward to report these crimes, giving evidence, so that perpetrators of these horrific crimes are brought to justice.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.