Colombia: New Law Closes Loophole for Acid Attacks against Women
Thursday, January 28, 2016 9:30 AM

The president of Colombia recently signed a new bill into law that will classify acid attacks as intentional violent crimes punishable by a minimum of 12 years in prison. If the victim is permanently disfigured, the perpetrator may receive up to 50 years in prison.  Previously, acid attacks were charged as “personal injuries” that carried light penalties. According to official government statistics, there have been 628 acid attacks since 1996. However, Colombian women’s rights activists say the numbers are much higher, with as many as 100 attacks occurring per year. This would make Colombia’s rate of acid attacks one of the highest in the world.

Most perpetrators are men and most victims are women. USA Today reports that, “the root of Colombia’s problem lies in a dangerous cocktail of misogynistic attitudes ingrained in mainstream culture and high levels of violence following a half-century civil war.”

Compiled from: Tegel, Simeon, Colombia cracks down on horrific wave of acid attacks against women, USA Today (20 January 2016).