Common assault


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Common assault


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To determine this, it is important to understand what constitutes an assault.  An assault consists of striking, touching, moving, or applying force of any kind on a person, either directly or indirectly, without the person’s consent.  It is not necessary for physical injury to have been inflicted for an assault charge to be lodged.  This is because an assault constitutes an attempt or a threat where the offender can carry out the assault.  An assault becomes aggravated when it takes place within a domestic relationship, when a child is present, when the conduct breaches the terms of a restraining order, the victim is 60 years or older, or the offence is racially motivated.


Common assault is the direct infliction of force, injury or violence upon a person or persons.  This frequently arises when a person has been hit, pushed or shoved.  Common Assault is also the direct threat of force, injury or violence where there is an apprehension that the threat could be enacted.


Assault occasioning bodily harm (AOBH) is an assault which causes bodily injury such as broken bones, bleeding or bruising which interferes with the victim’s health and comfort.  Such injuries may only constitute abrasions and bruises, or injuries that are still relatively minor but require medical attention.


Grievous bodily harm (GBH) is a very serious offence usually resulting in a term of imprisonment.  The Criminal Code of Western Australia defines grievous bodily harm to include any bodily injury of a nature that is likely to endanger life or cause permanent injury or death.  This offence may arise in circumstances where a person has suffered serious disfigurement, loss of a limb or broken bones.


The category of serious assault constitutes assaulting a public officer or police officer in their line of duty.  A serious assault constitutes physical threats and assaults on other emergency workers such as firefighters, paramedics, public doctors and nurses.

In WA, there are certain defenses that are valid with regards to assault charges.  The most common defenses are provocation and self-defense.

There are defences at law to assault charges in Western Australia, depending upon the facts.  The most common defences are provocation and self-defence.

An accused may plead provocation in circumstances where the provocation resulted in a loss of self-control, provided that the assault is not disproportionate to the provocation and is not likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm.

The accused may rely on self-defence if it is accepted the accused believed the assault was reasonably necessary to defend themselves or another person.  There must be reasonable grounds to establish the belief, and the accused’s conduct must be proportionate to the assault inflicted upon him or her.

Should you, need a legal defense for assault or assault victim lawyers, contact Lawson Legal for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced criminal lawyers.