Initially, this substance has been used to protect valuable items since it remains impregnated in the thief’s clothing and body for six weeks and facilitates its identification. It is now used in a KIT to protect women in the United Kingdom.
This forensic liquid called SmartWater is made up of substances that are not found naturally anywhere. Each batch is unique and particular, so identifying the aggressor is easier and possible since this substance becomes fluorescent when subjected to ultraviolet light.
At first glance, the spray on the individual, caused directly or by spray, is not detected depending on the KIT element used. This is composed of a hand spray, a gel to apply to the doorknobs and doors, and an automatic mechanism that releases a jet of liquid to be placed at strategic points when the person who implies danger approaches the chosen point.
Domestic abuse and sexual assault cases are filed behind closed doors and are sometimes dismissed as the abuser’s words against the assaulted person. In recent years, victims have increased. According to UN Women, “Globally, an estimated 736 million women – about one in three – have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, or sexual violence perpetrated by someone other than their partner, at some point in their lives. 30% of women aged 15 and over.”
Here lies the importance of implementing the use of elements that allow them to have convincing evidence so that there is no way to evade the punishment or penalty that is contemplated according to the law of each country.
Thanks to using SmartWater, it was already possible to obtain the conviction of a man in the United Kingdom who violated the restraining order established by her ex-partner and harassed her at her home. By detecting, with infrared light, the presence of the liquid called SmartWater in his body, the attempts to harass her were verified, since when he tried to enter her house, she sprayed him with this liquid. This happened in West Yorkshire, in the North of England, where there are already more than 200 women who have this protection kit. They state that they feel safer, and other people said that they would recommend it to other women in a survey.
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Previously, this liquid helped reduce the percentage of theft of expensive auto parts, the so-called catalytic converters, since the stolen items are subjected to laboratory tests that allow the theft to be traced until its authors are found.
The pandemic situation caused by the presence of COVID-19 has quintupled calls to international support and assistance centers, according to the report “Measuring the Invisible Pandemic: Violence Against Women in the Context of COVID-19.”
Therefore, it is urgent to adopt measures to prevent and contain these crimes that affect girls and women globally, including strengthening awareness of the importance of reporting to avoid severe consequences for the victim’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Unfortunately, silence is a strong ally that helps boost the figures of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. And by the way, they find the answers of support and orientation required.