Acid & Burn Violence Prevention

Zonta International
The Prevention of
Burns Violence
Against Women and Girls
in Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda
Zonta International
Premeditated Violence
Acid attacks are a premeditated form of violence,
usually against women,
involving throwing corrosive
acid at victims that leaves
survivors physically, socially
and emotionally scarred.
With very little money, anyone
can buy and use acid as a
weapon that can ruin another
person’s life in just a few
Zonta International
Help End Acid Attacks
• Through UNIFEM, part of UN
Women contribution to the
United Nations Trust Fund, Zonta
International has pledged
$430,00 over two years to
support a comprehensive
strategy to end burns violence
against women in Cambodia,
Nepal and Uganda.
• All three countries experience
widespread and frequently
tolerated acid/burns violence.
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Destruction of Lives
• Acid violence and other forms of burning
rarely kills but always destroys lives, both
physically and psychologically.
• Survivors face social isolation and
ostracism, further damaging their selfesteem and well-being, and seriously
undermining their professional, economic
and personal future.
• Depression and anxiety are common
among acid burns injuries, especially when
their attackers are free to attack again.
Zonta International
Burns Violence is a Global Phenomenon
It is most prevalent in countries
• Where regulatory monitoring and controls
processes are weak or ambiguous
• Where the judiciary, police and lawyers
lack sensitization about the appropriate laws
to prosecute perpetrators
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Gender Violence
• An estimated 80% of acid attack survivors worldwide are women and
• Burns caused by acid and other corrosive or flammable materials in
pre-meditated attacks often occur with little accurate reporting of the
true number of women and girls affected.
• Acid attacks are more common in countries where the regulation of
harmful substances is weak, where laws do not exist or are not
implemented, and where there may be a degree of cultural
Zonta International
Meet Nila
At the age of 19, Nila’s husband poured
acid over her head as punishment for
expressing to him her dream of continuing
her education.
* Photo & Story Courtesy of ASTI
Zonta International
Bushra’s Story
Bushra was
attacked twice
by the same
man because
she turned down
his marriage
* Photo & story courtesy of ASTI
Zonta International
Haseena Hussain
Haseena Hussain was
attacked by her former
boss when she did not
accept his marriage
Haseena is now an
activist working to fight
the surge of acid
violence against women
in India.
* Picture & story courtesy of NPR
Zonta International
Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda
% Living
Below Poverty
Level (2005)
Living in
% Women
*Source: UNIFEM
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Challenges in Cambodia
Burns violence is
widespread and tolerated
by Cambodian society.
Up to 40% of women
in Cambodia are affected by
domestic violence.
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CEDAW Related Legislation in Cambodia
• Prevention of Domestic Violence Against Women Law, 2005
• Bill on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, 2007
• Law on Commune Election – which has a general provision on the right of
women and men to be elected
• Penal code provision against “torture and barbarous acts” which lacks
penalties for acid violence
*Source: Cambodian Women Report 2004vi
Zonta International
Victims of domestic
violence in Nepal have
little legal recourse.
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Burns Violence in Nepal
• Burns violence cases often result in suicide
• Burns violence is the leading cause of death among women in Nepal
aged 15-49
• 16% of all women’s deaths are suicides – half following burns
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Law enforcement officials
need training to ensure
perpetrators are punished.
Acid violence offenses are not
consistently enforced in
Zonta International
Causes of Acid Attacks in Uganda
• Relationship Conflict (35.5%)
• Business and Property Conflicts (14.2%)
• Innocent Bystander (10.5%)
• Theft (2.3%)
• Mistaken Identity (2%)
• Other (7.7%)
• Unknown (29%)
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Treating Survivors
• The program is based on other
successful initiatives in Bangladesh
and Pakistan
• This approach reduces the
incidence of acid attacks, and helps
to change laws, societal attitudes
and the method of treating
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The Goal
•Reduce acid and other forms of burns
•Gain an understanding of its causes.
•Focus on these issues in Cambodia,
Nepal and Uganda.
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Awareness and Attitudes
• Gather statistics about regional occurrences of
acid and other forms of burns violence
• Gain understanding of reasons for this violence
• Increase awareness of the number and after
effects of burns violence
• Change attitudes within local communities
• Promote individual responsibility
• Adopt strategies to reduce incidence
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Recognition and Enforcement
• National recognition of the problem
• Enforcement of existing legislation and development of new
• Reduce incidence of burns violence and deal with its repercussions
• A model to use in other countries where acid and other forms of
burns violence are prevalent
• Proven methods to continue program in Nepal, Cambodia, and
Zonta International
Cooperate Empower Advocate
• Encourage cooperation among community
leaders, officials, organizations and victims
• Empower women to represent and take
leadership in this process
• Set up community regulatory committees to study
existing legislation and to advocate for legislation
Zonta International
Consult and Involve
• Analyze the incidence of burns violence per region
• Consult with
• acid burns survivors
• victims’ family members and neighbors
• local government representatives
• village leaders
• Involve all stakeholders in preventing acid burn behavior and violence, and to
reintegrate victims into society
Zonta International
Awareness and Understanding
Sample 3,000 villagers, in neighborhoods with high numbers of burns
violence, in each country
Provide Awareness training for key personnel in ministries, police,
judiciary, and media
Spread awareness of incidence, causes and repercussions of burns violence,
and successful prosecutions of perpetrators
Promote greater understanding by women and girls of their rights and
access to justice
Zonta International
Working Together
• Sensitize professional authorities in each country about burns violence
• Gather accurate data about acid and burn attacks to guide policy makers
and medical personnel
• Work with
• religious leaders
• community elders
• counselors
• heads of organizations
• women’s groups
• acid vendors
Zonta International
Victims’ Needs
Women who have been attacked need legal
support, medical and psychosocial rehabilitation
•Sensitize health providers to meet the needs of
women who have been attacked
•Provide information about services through media
and local health service personnel
•Direct victims to health providers from basic
medical camps to national burns treatment centers
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Despite the Hardships
by Individuals and their
Survivors CAN and DO
Rebuild their Lives
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Meet Peyara
“As time has passed & with
the help of sympathetic
people from this country &
overseas, I have found
strength & peace of mind.
…I feel like my life has
enhanced (sic) because of
my contact with such great
people from countries all
over the world who visit
me…Because of meeting
these people, my views have
expanded…I’ve received
leadership training through
the ASF…I now advocate on
the acid violence issue.”
* Photo & Story
Courtesy of ASTI
Zonta International
Peyara’s Support
With the support of her
loving husband and the help
of the Acid Survivors
Foundation in Bangladesh,
Peyara was given free
physio-social rehabilitation,
medical and legal support.
Today Peyara stands tall and
proud, with dignity and
* Courtesy of ASTI
Zonta International
Zonta’s Contribution
• Aid in the development of a comprehensive strategy to help end the
horror of burns violence in Cambodia, Nepal, and Uganda
• Help end the psychological trauma, physical pain, and social
isolation and ostracism for those at risk for burns violence
Zonta International
Advocate for Change
Jayalakshmi is an
acid-attack survivor
in Bangalore, India
who appeared at city
hall to call for better
prevention and
prosecution of acid
violence offenders.
Zonta International
Donate Generously to
Prevent Burns Violence
Against Women and Girls in
Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda

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