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Law on Assault. A guide to comprehending the legal definition as per the Law

Law on Assault. A guide to comprehending the legal definition as per the Law

09 May 2023

 In this article, we aim to provide a concise introduction to the legal definition of common assault and its implications for individuals in the security sector, who are frequently exposed to observing, confronting, and even suffering from severe physical harm as a result of assault.

We will strive to maintain a respectful tone throughout this piece, given the delicate nature of the topic at hand.

What is Assault
Assault laws vary depending on the jurisdiction, but in general, assault refers to the intentional act of causing someone to fear that they are about to suffer physical harm or offensive contact.

In the U.S Assault can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. For example, if an assault results in serious bodily injury or involves the use of a deadly weapon, it may be charged as a felony.

In addition to criminal charges, a victim of assault may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for damages.

It's important to note that assault laws can be complex and may vary by state or country. If you have questions about assault laws in your area, you should consult with a qualified legal professional.

The subject of assault is multifaceted, and the scope of its definition in UK law is more comprehensive than what many people assume.

In the UK, the legal system characterizes assault offenses as the deliberate or careless infliction of physical harm on a person. Depending on the extent of the injuries sustained by the victim, such incidents can be prosecuted as common assault, actual bodily harm (ABH), or grievous bodily harm (GBH) under criminal law.

Assumptions about common assault often revolve around physical harm as the sole criteria for its commission, but this is not entirely accurate. Legally, an assault can take place even without physical contact.

For instance, threatening another person with assault constitutes an assault in itself. Additionally, actions like pushing or spitting intentionally may also fall under the category of minor common assault.

It's important to note that assault is distinct from the concept of reasonable force. Reasonable force is the amount of force required to protect oneself or property from illegal aggression or harm.

The degree of reasonable force always corresponds to the threat posed at the time, meaning that it is permissible to defend oneself with a weapon when attacked by a weapon-wielding assailant.

Common Assault
When one person hurts another or makes them think that they want to harm them, it is called common assault. Common assaults can take various forms, from minor incidents like shaking a fist, spitting or shouting, to physical acts like pushing and shoving.
In case of physical violence, it is more probable to be categorized as 'battery' or 'assault by beating' instead of Common Assault.

Common assault offenses can also occur unintentionally. Even if a minor disagreement becomes heated, and neither person intends to commit unlawful violence, if one person accidentally makes the other believe that they are in danger of harm, it may still be considered a common law offense.

Individuals such as door staff, emergency workers, and security personnel may come across incidents of common assault while performing their duties. They may also become victims of common assault themselves.

When incidents occur, door supervisors commonly known as "bouncers" do not have the authority to apprehend individuals like law enforcement officials.
The procedure is to politely ask the person(s) to leave the premises.

If an assault happens, security personnel have few choices.
The primary solution is to forcefully expel the person committing the assault from the location, bythe use of holding and escorting techniques, (including non-restrictive and restrictive skills) as long as they use reasonable force.
This action complies with the law and avoids committing assault.

Once the perpetrator has left the premises, door supervisors are not permitted to take any further action against them as they are simply a member of the public.

However, if the individual is about to commit a serious crime, such as burglary or assault, a security officer may carry out a citizen's arrest.

This is allowed under UK law, which permits any citizen to arrest another who is committing an "indictable offence" if a police officer is unable to make the arrest and if the individual is harming themselves or others, damaging property, or attempting to escape before the police arrive.

The maximum sentence for common assault is six months imprisonment, and cases are heard only in the magistrates' court.

Further assault categories are:

What to do if you have been Assaulted
Seek medical attention if necessary, and obtain a medical report.
Report the incident to the police, and obtain a crime reference number.
Besides the physical injuries, being assaulted can affect your mental health and cause Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Within the UK You may contact victim support.  
Depending on the circumstances and extent of harm caused by the crime, it is possible that you could be eligible for compensation.


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