Assault offences in Victoria

Assaults are prevalent and serious offences in Victoria, falling under the Crimes Act 1958 and the Summary Offences Act 1966.

They encompass various charges, each with distinct penalties based on the circumstances of the assault and resulting injuries. This article provides an overview of assault offences in Victoria.

Types of assault offences

Common or unlawful assault

Statutory and Common Law Basis


Fine of 15 penalty units or three months imprisonment for Summary Offences Act cases, and up to five years imprisonment for common law cases, usually handled in the County Court.

Aggravated assault - two categories


Assault against a child under 14, and assaults involving multiple offenders, kicking, or weapon use.


Range from 25 penalty units or six months to two years imprisonment.

Indecent assaults


Indecently assaulting another person or committing an assault with the intention of committing rape.


Maximum of ten years imprisonment.

Intentionally or recklessly causing Injury


Varying degrees of severity, from serious injuries caused in circumstances of gross violence to general cases of intentionally or recklessly causing injury.


Range from five to twenty years imprisonment, with minimum terms and non-parole periods in some cases. County Court jurisdiction, but summary proceedings may be chosen for less serious offences.

Threats to kill or inflict serious injury

These are separate offences.


Ten years imprisonment for threats to kill, five years imprisonment for threat to cause serious injury. Generally, these cases are finalised in the County Court, but summary proceedings can applied for by the accused.

More serious assaults


Intentionally or recklessly causing injury to another person, with specific offences targeting police officers and emergency workers.


Maximum of five years imprisonment, with cases heard in the County Court unless the accused makes and application for what’s called “summary jurisdiction”. This means the case can be heard in the magistrates Court which limits any penalty to 2 years imprisonment.

Defences to assault charges

If facing an assault charge, various defences may apply, such as duress, self-defence, or mental impairment.

Seeking advice can help determine available legal defences for your case.


Figure 1: Sentencing outcomes for all charges of unlawful assault (22,045 charges)

Note: The graph only includes data for the most severe sentence imposed for the charge. For example, only imprisonment is included for combined orders of imprisonment and a community correction order. Other in the graph may include probation, recognizance release orders (for Commonwealth offences) and residential treatment orders. Historical offences may include suspended sentences.

Source – Sentencing Advisory Council – Unlawful Assault. Visit for accessible versions.

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