Define: Crime Against The Person

Crime Against The Person
Crime Against The Person
Quick Summary of Crime Against The Person

A crime against an individual occurs when force is used or threatened to be used against another person. This encompasses severe offences such as murder and rape, as well as other acts of violence like assault and robbery.

What is the dictionary definition of Crime Against The Person?
Dictionary Definition of Crime Against The Person

A crime against the person refers to a criminal offence in which the offender employs force or the threat of force against another individual. This category encompasses various acts, including murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. For instance, murder involves intentionally causing the death of another person, while rape entails forcing someone to engage in sexual activity without their consent. Aggravated assault refers to attacking someone with the intention of inflicting severe bodily harm, and robbery involves taking someone’s belongings through force or the threat of force. These examples demonstrate how crimes against the person involve the use or potential use of force against another person. Such crimes are considered highly serious as they infringe upon an individual’s physical safety and well-being.

Full Definition Of Crime Against The Person

Crimes against the person, often referred to as personal crimes, are criminal offences that directly harm or threaten the physical safety and well-being of an individual. These crimes are considered severe due to their direct impact on the victim, often causing physical harm, psychological trauma, or even death. This overview will cover various types of crimes against the person, their legal definitions and implications, and the societal and legal responses to these offences in the United Kingdom.

Definition and Classification

Crimes against the person can be broadly classified into several categories, including but not limited to:

  • Homicide: Including murder, manslaughter, and infanticide.
  • Assault: Encompassing common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), and grievous bodily harm (GBH).
  • Sexual Offences: Such as rape, sexual assault, and indecent exposure.
  • Kidnapping and false imprisonment involve the unlawful detention of an individual against their will.
  • Domestic violence encompasses a range of physical, emotional, and psychological abuses within a domestic setting.


Homicide is one of the most serious crimes against a person and is divided into several subcategories:


Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. The mandatory sentence for murder in the UK is life imprisonment, reflecting the severity of the offence.


Manslaughter can be either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills another under circumstances that would constitute murder but in the presence of mitigating factors such as loss of control or diminished responsibility. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when there is no intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm, but death results from a reckless or grossly negligent act.


Infanticide is the killing of a child under the age of one year by its mother, where the balance of her mind was disturbed by the effects of childbirth or lactation. This offence recognises the unique psychological and physiological impacts on a mother during this period.


Assault offences range in severity and are classified based on the harm caused to the victim.

Common Assault

Common assault is the least severe form of assault and involves causing someone to fear immediate unlawful violence. It can also include minor physical contact, such as pushing or slapping.

Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)

ABH is a more serious offence and involves assault that causes actual physical harm to the victim, such as bruises or minor injuries that require medical treatment.

Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)

GBH is a serious form of assault where the victim suffers significant injuries. It can be charged under two sections:

  • Section 20: GBH: Also known as wounding or inflicting GBH, where the harm was caused recklessly.
  • Section 18 GBH: Known as wounding with intent, where the perpetrator intended to cause serious injury.

Sexual Offences

Sexual offences are serious crimes against the person that involve non-consensual sexual acts or behaviours.


Rape is defined as non-consensual intercourse, where the perpetrator penetrates the victim without their consent and with intent. It is a serious crime carrying severe penalties, including life imprisonment.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves any non-consensual sexual touching or activity. The severity of the offence depends on the nature of the act and the circumstances surrounding it.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is the deliberate exposure of one’s genitals to cause alarm or distress. It is a less severe offence but still carries significant legal penalties.

Kidnapping and False Imprisonment


Kidnapping involves the unlawful taking and carrying away of a person by force or deception without their consent. It is a serious offence that can result in severe penalties, including long-term imprisonment.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of a person’s freedom of movement. It can occur in various contexts, including domestic abuse situations, and carries significant legal consequences.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses a range of abusive behaviours in a domestic setting, including physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. The UK has specific laws and protective measures to address and prevent domestic violence, recognising the profound impact it has on victims and society.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse involves acts of violence such as hitting, kicking, or using weapons against a partner or family member.

Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Emotional and psychological abuse includes behaviours that harm an individual’s mental health, such as intimidation, manipulation, and controlling behaviours.

Legal Framework and Support

The UK has implemented various legal measures to protect victims of domestic violence, including restraining orders, domestic violence protection orders, and support services.

Legal and Social Responses

The legal system in the UK takes crimes against people very seriously, with robust laws and penalties in place to deter and punish offenders. Key aspects of the legal and societal responses include:

Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system, including the police, courts, and correctional services, plays a critical role in addressing crimes against people. Victims are encouraged to report crimes, and the system aims to provide justice through fair trials and appropriate sentencing.

Victim Support Services

Numerous organisations provide support services for victims of personal crimes, including counselling, legal assistance, and shelters for victims of domestic violence. These services aim to help victims recover and rebuild their lives.

Preventative Measures

Preventative measures, such as public awareness campaigns, education programmes, and community policing initiatives, aim to reduce the incidence of crimes against people. These measures focus on addressing the root causes of crime and promoting safer communities.


Crimes against the person are among the most serious offences due to their direct and often devastating impact on victims. The UK legal system, supported by societal and governmental efforts, works diligently to prevent these crimes, support victims, and bring offenders to justice. Understanding the various forms of personal crimes and the responses to them is crucial in fostering a safer and more just society.

Crime Against The Person FAQ'S

Crimes against the person include assault, battery, domestic violence, homicide, and sexual assault.

If you are a victim of a crime against the person, you should immediately contact law enforcement and seek medical attention if necessary. It is also important to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options for seeking justice.

The consequences for committing a crime against the person can vary depending on the severity of the offence, but may include fines, imprisonment, probation, and restitution to the victim.

Yes, as a victim of a crime against the person, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Assault is the threat of physical harm, while battery is the actual physical contact that causes harm or injury.

Yes, you have the right to defend yourself against criminal charges for a crime against the person. It is important to seek legal representation to build a strong defence.

The statute of limitations for crimes against the person varies by state and the specific offence, but it generally ranges from 1 to 10 years.

In some cases, a victim of a crime may have the ability to drop charges, but ultimately, the decision to pursue or drop charges is up to the prosecutor.

If you acted in self-defence, you may have a valid legal defence against a charge for a crime against the person. It is important to present evidence and testimony to support your claim of self-defence.

If you witness a crime against someone, you should immediately contact law enforcement and provide as much information as possible about the incident and the individuals involved. Your testimony may be crucial in the prosecution of the perpetrator.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 10th June 2024.

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