Acid Survivors Trust International
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|John Morrison (Founder), The Princess Royal, (Patron)|
Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organisation in the world working at the international level to end acid and burns violence. The organisation was founded in 2002 and is a registered charity in England and Wales.
Recognising the need for local knowledge and expertise in order to combat acid violence effectively, ASTI works with a network of six Acid Survivors Foundations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Uganda that it has helped to form. ASTI has helped provide medical expertise and training to these partners, raised valuable funds to support survivors of acid attacks and helped change laws.
A key role for ASTI is to raise awareness of acid violence to an international audience so that increased pressure can be applied to governments to introduce stricter controls on the sale and purchase of acid. At present a litre of acid can be bought over a shop counter for as little as 10 pence.
Vision and Mission
A world where the horrific crime of acid violence has been eradicated, its perpetrators brought to justice, and all victims of acid attacks have been provided with the support necessary to live independent and fulfilling lives.
To serve as an international centre of excellence that campaigns for the global elimination of acid violence, and provides vital support to acid survivors through a networks of organisations sharing knowledge, expertise, and best practice.
Acid Survivor's Trust International aims for a 90% reduction in acid violence by 2030.
The incidence of recorded acid violence in Bangladesh has fallen from 500 cases in 2002 to less that 100 in 2012 - over a 70% reduction. There are a number of factors that contributed to this reduction. It is generally recognised that the change in law was a key contributory factor as was increased awareness. With the support of ASTI, its local partner, Acid Survivors Foundation Bangladesh, played a critical role in lobbying for change and working with the media to raise awareness. In 2002 the Government of Bangladesh passed the Acid Control Act and Crime Prevention Act restricting the import and sale of acid. Acid Survivors Foundation Bangladesh have treated thousands of patients in its 20 bed burns hospitals.
Over 2000 survivors have been helped to rebuild lives. Former ASTI Trustee Dr Ron Hiles OBE, has personally performed over one thousand re-constructive surgery operations and trained hundreds of surgeons who in turn have treated thousands of patients. The governments in Pakistan and Cambodia have been persuaded to introduce specific legislation on acid violence from which successful prosecutions have followed. ASTI's local partners in Pakistan and Cambodia played a key role in advocating for legal change. Pakistan has recorded a significant increase in prosecutions – from 6% to 18% of recorded attacks.
Advice has been given to the makers of the Oscar-winning documentary ‘Saving Face’ which has been widely shown around the world and demonstrates both the harm that acid can do and how lives can be rebuilt. The film follows the work of ASTI's local partner in Pakistan supporting two survivors medically and legally.
ASTI concentrates on the following areas of work:
- Advocating internationally for action to eliminate acid and burn violence, including at the UN and regional bodies. - Mobilizing resources to support the work of its partners - Building an international centre for knowledge and best practice in how best to end acid and burns violence. There is a growing body of evidence for what works in reducing levels of acid and burns violence and helping survivors.
ASTI and its partners work with NGOs, local and national governments, and the international community to:
- Strengthen the implementation of laws, policies and action plans on burn and acid violence through data collection and analysis, building capacities of service providers, controlling the sale of acid, and strengthening institutions to become more effective, transparent and accountable in addressing burn and acid violence. - Expand survivors' of acid and burn violence to services including legal assistance, medical treatment, psychosocial counseling, health care, and building the capacity of service providers to respond effectively to the rehabilitation needs of survivors affected by acid and burn violence.
Media Coverage of Acid Survivors Trust International
Acid Survivors Trust International is a small, London based (Shoreditch, East London) registered charity with an international reputation. It is called on for expert comment whenever an acid attack is reported in the media. Recent interviews include BBC TV News (twice), BBC Radio 5 Live, France24, CNN, ITN, The New York Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The Lancet.
Links to recent media and press coverage:
- Anne, Princess Royal (Britain)
- Colonel Paul Pettigrew
- Baljit Dheansa
- Leanne MacMillan
- Dr Ariel King
- Tracey Enderby
- Jim Drummond