What is the difference between assault and domestic violence?

What is the difference between assault and domestic violence? 

An assault is a specific criminal offence whereas domestic violence is a type of harmful behaviour, often but not always an assault, by one person against another person with whom they have or have had a particular type of relationship. For example, they may be partners, ex-partners, parent and child or siblings.  accordingly, the offences a person can be charged with when they commit an assault are the same types of offences they can be charged with whether they occur in the domestic setting or not. 

What is an assault?

An assault will occur when a person either intentionally or recklessly applies force to another or intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend imminent contact. In such a setting an assault can occur without contact being made and without injury being caused.  However, where an assault involves the application of force and the causing of an injury there are a number of offences with which a person may be charged, including: 

  • Intentionally causing serious injury;
  • Recklessly causing serious injury;
  • Intentionally causing injury; and
  • Recklessly causing injury.  

The penalties if you plead guilty or are found guilty of any of the above offences vary significantly depending on which offence you are sentenced for having committed and the individual facts of your case. 

If you have been charged with assault or causing injury to another person, be it a serious injury or not, you need to hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible so that they may provide you with advice as to how to approach your case and whether or not you have an arguable defence. Stary Norton Halphen’s experienced assault lawyers in Melbourne will do exactly that.  

What is domestic violence?

As set out above domestic violence is not itself a criminal offence but rather it is a harmful behaviour, quite often an assault or some other criminal offence, which has been committed by one person against another with whom they have or have previously had a particular type of relationship, such as:

  • Spousal;
  • Parent/child;
  • Sibling;
  • Relatives outside of a person’s immediate family; and
  • Romantic/sexual, even where brief.

A common example of domestic violence is when a person is accused of assaulting their ex-partner.

A domestic violence lawyer will have experience working on similar cases, and help you understand the process involved when you are charged with an offence, whether you have a defence available to you and the potential penalties you may be facing. 

How do the courts deal with domestic violence?

Victorian courts take cases involving domestic and family violence very seriously.  First, they are given priority by the courts, such that they move through the system a lot faster than other cases. Second, when a person pleads or is found guilty to a domestic violence offence they often receive stern penalties. At Stary Norton Halphen, our criminal lawyers in Melbourne are well equipped to handle allegations of family violence. 

The effects of  being accused of domestic violence 

When charged with an offence categorised as domestic or family violence, it is very likely that the police will also make an application for an intervention order against you. The purpose of doing so is to protect the alleged victim from domestic violence. 

An intervention order is often very restrictive in nature. They can and often do prohibit a person accused of domestic violence from approaching within a certain distance of their alleged victim or the home of their alleged victim or contacting them by phone, email or sms.

If you share a home or have a child with the alleged victim, this can cause significant issues as you may be restricted from returning to your home or from having contact with your children. 

It is therefore important to engage the services of a domestic violence lawyer as soon as you can after having been accused of or charged with a family violence offence so that they can assist you with both the criminal charges and the intervention order proceedings that arise out of the allegations that have led to those charges having been laid. 

Finding Criminal Lawyers in Melbourne for Assault and Domestic Violence related offending

Regardless of whether your assault charge falls under the category of domestic violence or family violence related offending, it is crucial to have a good criminal lawyer to explain the process to you, whether you have a defence, whether the case against you is a strong or a weak one, and the likely penalties you are facing. 

If you are charged with an offence that is family violence related, having an experienced criminal lawyer who understands the flow-on effects of these charges is crucial.

Here at Stary Norton Halphen, our team of experienced criminal lawyers in Melbourne understand the importance of this and will assist you with these matters. Importantly, we will help you achieve the best possible outcome having regard to the circumstances of your case.

If you are in need of a domestic violence lawyer, or assault lawyers in Melbourne, contact the team at Stary Norton Halphen.