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Charged with a Serious Injury or Injury Offence in Victoria?

What is a 'serious injury' for the purposes of an assault charge in Victoria?


Various assault offences prosecuted under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) allege as an element of the offence, a serious injury. Such assault offences include:


  • Causing serious injury intentionally in circumstances of gross violence (section 15A Crimes Act 1958 (Vic))

  • Causing serious injury recklessly in circumstances of gross violence (section 15B Crimes Act 1958 (Vic))

  • Causing serious injury intentionally (section 16 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic))


The Definition of 'Serious Injury' under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)


Under section 15 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), 'serious injury' means:


(a) an injury (including the cumulative effect of more than one injury) that—

(i) endangers life; or

(ii) is substantial and protracted; or

(b) the destruction, other than in the course of a medical procedure, of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm;


What is an 'Injury' for the purposes of Other Assault Offences Prosecuted Under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)


If the alleged injury is not a 'serious injury' as defined under section 15, the prosecution may still allege an injury in support of either of these offences, the diffence being the intentionality of the accused's actions:


  • intentionally cause injury

  • recklessly cause injury.


Section 15 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) defines 'injury' in these terms:


"injury" means—

(a) physical injury; or

(b) harm to mental health—

whether temporary or permanent


"physical injury" includes unconsciousness, disfigurement, substantial pain, infection with a disease and an impairment of bodily function;


"harm to mental health" includes psychological harm but does not include an emotional reaction such as distress, grief, fear or anger unless it results in psychological harm


Need Advice or Representation at Court?


Call our office to get advice and expert representation for any assault allegation to be heard at Court. To organise an appointment either in-person or by phone, call us on 03 9668 7600 or use our case assessment form.



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