What is Assault?

Assault is defined in Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code.  A person commits assault when:

(a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly;

(b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or

(c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.

Assault Explained:

The terminology and word used in the Criminal Code can be confusing.  It is often difficult to decipher precisely which actions qualify as criminal offenses.  It is important to break the section down, to make sure you get it.

First, assault can occur when force is applied directly or indirectly to another person, without their consent.  The term “force” does not necessarily mean that the contact has to be violent.  Mere touching without the other person’s consent may be deemed assault.

Directly applying force refers to direct person-to-person touching. For example, under this definition, punching, pushing or kicking someone would constitute direct forms of assault.

Indirectly assaulting someone involves using another object or means other than person-to-person contact.  Examples of indirect assault may include throwing a rock or spitting.  These are just some of the types of actions that can be defined as assaults, there are many more that may fall into the assault category.