Glassing is a physical attack using a glass as a weapon. Glassing can occur at bars or pubs where alcohol is served, and a drinking glass or bottle is available as a weapon. The most common method of glassing involves the attacker smashing an intact glass in the face of the victim. However the glass may be smashed before the attack, and then gripped by the remaining base of the glass or neck of the bottle with the broken shards protruding outwards. Glassing is easily prevented by using containers made from plastic or tempered glass instead, though these suffer from unpleasant feel and environmental consequences (for plastic) and higher expense (for tempered glass). This is slowly being adopted in areas with a high frequency of glassing, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. In New Zealand a similar phenomenon is referred to as "bottling".
Common injuries resulting from glassings are heavy blood loss, permanent scarring, disfigurement and loss of sight through eye injury. In the United Kingdom, there are more than 87,000 glassing attacks per year, resulting in over 5,000 injuries. Glassing is a relatively small portion of all alcohol-related violence, constituting 9% of injuries from alcohol-related violence in New South Wales, 1999–2011, for instance.
Tempered glass as policy response
In 2000, following a series of glassing attacks in Manchester, Greater Manchester Police and the Manchester Evening News launched a campaign Safe Glass Safe City promoting the use of toughened glass in pubs and clubs to prevent such attacks.
Tempered glass has been increasingly used in Australia to prevent glassing, with New South Wales introducing many restrictions on high-risk venues in 2008, including the removal of glass after midnight. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the number glassings.
In response to glassing violence, the government of Western Australia in 2011 made recommendations to the state hospitality industry on the use of tempered glass in hotels. The state government and the Australian Hotels Association created a self-regulatory program on the rollout of tempered glass in pubs, with most hotels and bars expected to change over to tempered beer glasses in six to 12 months. Royal Perth Hospital's head of plastic surgery Mark Duncan-Smith described it as an important step in protecting the public.
In relation to continuing glassing incidents despite limited glass bans in Queensland, Australia, state Liquor Licensing Minister Paul Lucas in 2011 predicted that almost all Queensland pubs and clubs would be (standard) glass free in 10 years.
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