Assault occurs where a person intentionally or recklessly causes another person to fear immediate violence, which may or may not involve the use of force. Force can include hitting, punching, striking, kicking, pushing, poking, touching or indeed any application of force – it does not matter whether it is soft or hard or whether injury occurs.

There are different categories of assault – some of those reflect the degree of injury and aggravation – such as Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, Malicious Wounding, Maliciously or Recklessly Inflict Grievous Bodily Harm. Others reflect the nature of the assault such as Sexual Assault and Indecent Assault. There are also offences where a person is assaulted during the course of their occupation – such as Assault Police.

Assault is known at law as an indictable offence that can be dealt with summarily. This means that a typical assault charge can be disposed of in the Local Court. Some of the more serious assault charges however are dealt with in the District Court upon indictment.


Specialist Assault Lawyers in Sydney

Our assault lawyers will give you specialist legal advice as to how your matter is likely to be dealt with, including potential penalties, likely penalties, advise you of your anticipated costs etc.

We can also provide you with accurate advice of the defences to assault charges – including Self Defence (which includes defending another person or property); Duress; and Necessity. You might not be guilty of an assault for other reasons, including that your actions did not amount to an assault, or the actions were accidental but not reckless – such as bumping into someone in a crowded street.

We might even be able to assist you in avoiding a conviction with a Section 10.

The penalties for assault upon conviction include monetary fines and potentially imprisonment.

Assault and Related Offences Case Studies

What is the difference between assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm?

Actual bodily harm means an injury results from the assault – it can include bruising, a cut, scratches, welts etc. An assault (simpliciter) does not involve an injury.

How far can you go in self defence?

You are entitled to defend yourself, defend another person and defend property – but if your actions are unreasonable and excessive, then assault can still be committed. For instance, if someone pokes you in the chest, you do not have a right to belt them over the head with a baseball bat!

How do you establish self defence?

It is a 2 tier test. Firstly, you must establish that you believed it was necessary to do what you did in the circumstances as you perceived them (including when intoxicated); and secondly, your actions must be considered reasonable by the hypothetical objective observer. Self defence is specifically set out in the Crimes Act.