Assault is a crime of violence against another person. In some jurisdictions, including Australia and New Zealand, assault refers to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, while in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, assault may refer only to the threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force.
Battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from assault in that the contact is not necessarily violent. Battery is typically classified as either simple or aggravated. Although battery typically occurs in the context of physical altercations, battery also applies in other instances, such as medical cases where the doctor performs a non-consented to medical procedure.
Definitions of what constitutes or doesn't constitute assault or battery vary greatly among jurisdictions. Injury, or the attempt or threat of injury, is not generally a required characteristic of assault or battery.
Assault/battery and corporal punishmentEdit
In jurisdictions where (non-consensual) corporal punishment is legal in certain cases, e.g. for parents or school teachers, it can still be considered assault, battery, maltreatment or abuse, depending on the jurisdiction, if the punishment is considered excessive or unreasonable.
Judicial corporal punishment is normally legal because it is given according to the laws of its jurisdiction. The officers who physically administer the punishment have immunity from prosecution for assault.
Assault/battery and consensual BDSMEdit
In most jurisdictions, consensual sadomasochistic activities are legal and a person engaging in these can not be charged for assault or battery. A notable exception is England, where consent is not a defense to assault where the degree of injury is severe, unless there is a legally recognized "good reason" for the assault.
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