According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an assault is the direct infliction of force, injury or violence upon another person. It includes attempts to assault or threats to assault. It can also be sexual in nature. In 2007, 840 out of every 100,000 people in Australia were victims of assault.
Fifty-eight per cent of reported assaults involve male victims. When females are victims of assault, their assailant is usually a family member or a person known to them. Females are twice as likely to be assaulted by a member of their own family. Eighty-one per cent of females who reported an assault knew their assailant. Fifty-one per cent of males reported being assaulted by a stranger and only forty-nine per cent knew their assailant (Australian Institute of Criminology, 2009).
An assault may be a summary offense which may be tried before a magistrate. Or it may be an indictable offense that can only be tried before a judge and a jury. It is committed when a person strikes, touches, moves or otherwise applies force of any kind to the person of another, directly or indirectly without the other person’s consent (s245, The Criminal Code of Queensland).
The modern concept of assault is derived from the common law which was then called assault and battery. Assault was the physical infliction of hurt or harm while battery required that the victim be put in fear for his life or his physical safety. For this reason, the modern concept of assault puts these two elements together: the element of infliction of hurt, harm or injury by physical means and the mental element of fear induced in the victim by the acts or gestures of the assailant.
A threat which induces fear of imminent harm can also be considered an assault. There is still an assault when an accused who has the necessary criminal intent to inflict harm, hurt or injury on the complaining victim; committed the overt physical acts to produce the assault; but because the complaining victim defends himself did not sustain the hurt or injury intended.
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.