There are a number of assault offences that someone can be charged with under Victorian law.The legislative basis for these offences is from the Crimes Act, the Summary Offences Act or from the Common Law.
Assault offences in Victoria are one of the most common charges dealt with in court. Assault is defined as the direct infliction of injury, force or violence upon a person and out of all crimes against the person, assault is the crime Australians face the highest risk of victimisation from. Males, aged between 15 and 24 years and females between 15 and 19 have the highest rate of victimisation. Young males are most likely to be targeted by a stranger, whilst females are more likely to be assaulted by a family member.
The circumstances surrounding an assault are usually very personal, so it is imperative that you seek legal advice if you have been charged with assault.
Under Section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966, common assault refers to an assault perpetrated against one person by another, where the injuries are fairly superficial. While common assault still carries the possibility of a prison sentence, it is considered to be the least serious assault related offence. The law states that any person who unlawfully assaults or beats another person is guilty of common assault.
A person found guilty of common assault is liable to imprisonment for 3 months, or 15 penalty units.
Under Section 24 of the Summary Offences Act 1966, a person convicted of assault or battery on any male child under 14 years old, or any female – where the severity of the assault is aggravated and cannot be punishable under common assault – is guilty of aggravated assault.
A person found guilty of aggravated assault is liable to imprisonment for 6 months, or 25 penalty units.
Any person, who in company with any other person or persons assaults another person, is guilty of aggravated assault.
A person found guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for 1 year.
Any person, who by kicking or with any weapon or any other instrument, assaults another person, is guilty of aggravated assault.
A person found guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.
Causing Injury Intentionally
Under Section 16 of the Crimes Act 1958, a person who, without lawful excuse, intentionally causes serious injury to another person is guilty of an offence.
A person found guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.
Causing Serious Injury Recklessly
Under Section 17 of the Crimes Act 1958, a person who, without lawful excuse, recklessly causes serious injury to another person is guilty of an offence.
A person found guilty of this offence is liable to imprisonment for 15 years.
Grievous Bodily Harm
The term grievous bodily harm refers to the act of intentionally causing serious harm to a person, designed to cause serious wounding, rather than a single blow or similar. An example of this would be setting a dangerous trap with the intention of seriously injuring a person with it.
This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. Being involved in the criminal or police process can be quite demanding, rigorous, and time consuming.