Offence against the person

In criminal law, the term offence against the person or crime against the person usually refers to a crime which is committed by direct physical harm or force being applied to another person.

They are usually analysed by division into the following categories:

  • Fatal offences
  • Sexual offences
  • Non-fatal non-sexual offences

They can be further analysed by division into:

  • Assaults
  • Injuries

And it is then possible to consider degrees and aggravations, and distinguish between intentional actions (e.g., assault) and criminal negligence (e.g., criminal endangerment).

Offences against the person are usually taken to comprise:

The crimes are usually grouped together in common law countries as a legacy of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.

Although most sexual offences will also be offences against the person,[3] for various reasons (including sentencing and registration of offenders) sexual crimes are usually categorised separately. Similarly, although many homicides also involve an offence against the person, they are usually categorised under the more serious category.