Assault is a criminal act punishable under Australian law.The specific law that penalizes it in New South Wales is the Crime Act 1900 that codifies common crimes therein. The commission of this criminal act varies and every variation refers to a different criminal offenses.
For example, if the assault is directed against a woman and there is an element of sexual abuse but no penetration of sexual organ against the victim, the crime is aggravated indecent assault if the victim is under 16 years of age. In this type of crime, the maximum penalty imposed is 10 years imprisonment with a standard non parole period of 8 years, especially if this crime specifically violated s61M (2) of the Crimes Act 1900.
Each Australian state has its own legislation that penalizes the crime of sexual assault. Although territories and states have different definitions and differ in sexual offenses legislation that discusses sexual assault, there are elements common in these legislations that would guide the prosecution what to prove to indict the offender.
Aside from sexual assault, there is also a crime of common assault which is defined and understood as an act of violence penalized not by a specific or particular legislation but by common law in Australia or by a case law applicable to it. In Victoria, there is no maximum penalty imposed but the offender is punished by fine or imprisonment or both. In state like Victoria, the court which hears the crime of common assault is the county court.
In NSW, the crime of common assault is penalized by a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and the court can impose any of the following penalties, to wit: good behavior bond, fine, community service order, suspended sentence or home detention.
In NSW, there is a crime known as assault causing grievous bodily disease which is penalized by a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. This is committed by any person who maliciously by any means causes the victim to contract a grievous bodily disease. The mere attempt to maliciously cause the other person to contract a grievous bodily disease is punishable under section 36 of Crimes Act 1900.(This charge was repealed in 2007. To replace it, the definition of "grievous bodily harm" in section 4 of the Crimes Act was extended to provide that "a reference to the infliction of grievous bodily harm includes a reference to causing a person to contract a grievous bodily disease".)
In Victoria, assault is an indictable offense punishable by a maximum of 6 years imprisonment. It is the act of committing a direct or indirect application of force to the body of another person or to his clothing without lawful excuse or reason but with intent to inflict bodily injury, harm, pain, discomfort, damage or to deprive such person his liberty.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.