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Assault types explained by our criminal solicitor

07 January 2022


An exceedingly common crime in the UK is that of assault.

And, while you may think that assault only occurs when one person hits another, this is not the case; there are many instances that fall under the law of assault that involve no physical contact but can still lead to you being arrested and charged.

In this article, we are going to look at all areas of assault under UK law to help you get a better understanding of this area.

At ABV Solicitors, our criminal solicitor knows how to defend your case, whether you have been accused of common assault or grievous bodily harm. Our team can represent you at the police station to have all charges dropped and, should your case go to court, would be more than happy and able to fight your corner there too. Great stuff!

So, what are the different types of assault in the UK and what is the punishment for each of them? Our criminal solicitor answers that question below.

What is assault?

Under UK Law, assault can be defined as verbal threats to physical attacks that can lead another person seriously injured or even disabled.

According to our criminal solicitor, all kinds of assault are considered criminal offences, irrespective of whether a person became physically injured or not.

If you are accused of any kind of assault and are taken into custody, the first thing you need to do is contact our team at ABV Solicitors for representation.

Common assault

This kind of assault occurs when one person feels that they may be attacked by someone else.

Despite its name, common assault can occur without any physical altercation taking place; actions such as raised fists (or other aggressive gestures), or verbal threats are enough for you to be arrested for committing this kind of assault if the person that it is against genuinely feels that they are going to be attacked. If you spit at someone, this can be classed as common assault.

Actual bodily harm (ABH)

More often than not following on from a common assault in cases that have escalated, actual bodily harm or ABH occurs when someone has caused physical injury to someone else.

The results of the altercation do not need to be medically serious but can refer to something as simple as a cut to the lip or a nosebleed. The person who has been attacked has to be in some degree of discomfort, no matter how minor it is.

Mental damage is seen as a form of ABH but it may lean in the direction of a PTSD type disorder.

 Grievous bodily harm (GBH)

GBH is when an assault leads to more serious injuries.

This does not have to be overly serious; a broken leg could amount to a GBH charge being filed against you. It can also be linked to psychiatric disabilities being caused by your actions, such as complex PTSD and can also be associated with transmitting illness or disease through sexual contact.

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