LiveChat Loading...

Australian National Character Check livechat loading
Australian National Character Check livechat loading

Assault Criminal Offences in Victoria (VIC)

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Among all offences you can commit against a person, an assault offence ranks on the more "serious" spectrum. An assault offence can encompass plenty of actions and range of the offence, from the minor to the life-threatening injury.

Always avoid all forms of attack or verbal threats towards another, as they can lead to serious charges and punishments. Also, all Assault convictions and offence charges are added to a person's police checks.

What is an assault?

All assault cases and offences are covered in the Crimes Act of 1958 and Summary offences Act of 1966 of the VIC legislation. It specifies an assault to be

  1. An act that involves;
    1. A harmful act; force, shove, kick, blows, and so on;
    2. Intentional/out of reckless behaviours
    3. Non consensual or fraudulent way of getting consent
    4. Direct or indirect actions
    5. Assisted in the crime
  2. Also, it includes the use of verbal means or threats or you attempted to do any of (a,b,c,d,e) above.
  3. In the VIC, there are various punishments for assaulting a person, which can be "life-defining. However, these punishments depend on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances surrounding it. Throwing a shoe at a person which causes them a scratch is different from ramming your car into people, so the punishments are proportional.

What are the different types of Assault offences?

The assault charge the court finds you guilty of (including the presence of aggravating circumstances) will determine the conviction you get. Here are the various degrees of assault offences in Victoria;

  1. Common Assault
  2. These assaults covered under section 23 of the Summary offences Act include all offences that do not intend or eventually cause "serious" bodily harm/disfigurement. Commonplace attacks, fights, kicking a person qualifies as common attacks.

    The Magistrate usually handles such cases with less delay and ambiguity. Other more serious crimes are dealt with in the county court.

    The court still punishes those found guilty of common assault with maximum fines of;

    • A 15 penalty unit;
    • $2,214.15
    • 3 months imprisonment term
  3. Aggravated Assault;
  4. Such cases are further divided into two categories since the court considers them much more serious than a common assault case. The two subcategories are;

    1. Assault against children under 14 and women
    2. Assaults including multiple people, kicking and use of weapons

    The case in (i) above attracts a 25 units maximum penalty;

    • Fines of $3,690.25
    • Six months imprisonment term
    • Or a good behaviour bond

    For case (ii) above, the penalties may vary as;

    • 12 months imprisonment term for multiple offenders or actions of assault
    • 24 months imprisonment term if you commit the assault by kicking someone with a weapon
  5. More serious Assaults
  6. Where the injury caused to the other person (sufferer) is grave or life-threatening or causing loss of body parts, the punishment is graver. There are various categories the court can establish the offender has committed the offence by law.

    The court orders a maximum imprisonment term of 5 years for all those found guilty of serious Assault. Some of the actions that can lead to a serious assault are;

    • Wounding; piercing the skin or leading to loss of blood
    • Cranial injuries and damage to the skull
    • Permanent disfigurement
    • Burns blows with a weapon
    • Use of electrical, gas, heat or other energy sources in harmful degrees

    These offences are considered grave and are dealt with in the County Court. However, the parties may agree to deal with it summarily in a Magistrate court.

    This offence is an indictable assault, and can constitute;

    • an intention to commit murder,
    • Assault against a Police Officer
    • Assault against emergency workers
    • Reckless actions leading to serious injuries, and so on
  7. Intentionally or recklessly causing injury
  8. Where the court concludes from evidence and arguments the offender caused the injury intentionally, it orders a penalty with a maximum jail term of 5 years. These injuries can include;

    • Life-threatening disfigurement
    • Protracted injuries
    • Injuries altering the sufferer’s routine
    • Premeditated attacks by groups, and so on.

    Each of the cases has a minimum imprisonment term with no paroles unless the court considers some extenuating circumstances. The more "serious" of these offences are handled in the county court, but lesser ones can be dealt with in a magistrate court.

    Charges for these offences have a wide range but carry the same maximum penalty of years. And the Prosecution must prove that the act was intentional and led to "serious" injuries.

  9. Threats to kill or cause serious harm
  10. Sections 20 and 21 of the Crimes Act covers all charges that include verbal assaults or attempts at it.

    Depending on how convincing the prosecuting team is that the offender; threatened and was capable of carrying out such threats, the court will order the full punishments.

    • Threats to seriously injure or wound a person attracts a maximum of 5 years imprisonment
    • And threats to kill or Seriously Torture attracts 10 years imprisonment.
    • Indecent or Sexual Assaults

    Section 39 and 40 of the Crimes Act covers all assault offences such as;

    • Rape
    • Molestation
    • Sexually harassment and other unlawful sexual actions

    All offences attract maximum sentencing of 10 years

    Other assaults and further details, including stipulated penalties, causative factors and so on. are contained in the Crimes Act of the Victoria legislation.


One related offence that can lead to an assault charge is the Affray offence. These are offences for public acts that cause others to fear for their lives/personal safety. Some of these offences are;

  • Giving wrong information in public places; false fire alarm, etc.
  • Dangerous driving
  • Engaging in melee and public fights especially with weapons

Is there a defence for an Assault charge?

Those charged with assault should engage the services of a competent lawyer in assault cases. There are lots of defence arguments your legal team can explore. It is a risky move to attempt to represent yourself or hear the charges without a lawyer.

Your legal team will advise you best on what plea to enter and “argue out” irrelevant charges.

Why does an assault case show in my police check?

If the court finds you guilty of an assault charge, it will become part of your police criminal history check. Since most convictions require a sentencing term, it can affect your chances anywhere the police check is required (in most organisations).

Candidates can apply for a police history check via the portal of Australian National Character Check.

Copyright & Disclaimer

The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

Need discount police checks? We beat prices!

About ANCC

ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!


based on 493 Google Reviews


based on 175 Product Reviews

Helped of customers and counting.

Not sure where to start?

Book in a free consultation with us to discuss your organisation's employment background check needs, or to get an overview of the ANCC Business Portal.