U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library


NCJ Number
Date Published
64 pages
This working paper on Canada's assault laws proposes a new approach to the offense of assault which is more in accord with common sense and encompasses domestic violence, corporal punishment of children, and violence in sports.
The new approach focuses on the type of assault inflicted rather than on the degree of assault, which is required by current law. Basic assault offenses would be defined as assault by touching an unwilling victim, assault by hurting an unwilling victim, and assault by causing harm or injury. The paper recommends amending the Criminal Code to provide that violence occurring within a family be an aggravating factor that justifies a greater punishment. It also suggests a repeal of Section 43, which provides a defense to teachers and parents who inflict corporal punishment on children, but only as it applies to teachers. Widespread concern over unnecessary violence in professional sports such as hockey led the Law Reform Commission to examine assault laws as they relate to violence in sports. The paper concludes that no special legal measures are necessary for dealing with sports violence that exceeds that to which players reasonably consent. It does, however, recommend more imaginative approaches to prosecuting coaches, managers, and team owners. The paper does not recommend the abolition of boxing, although it suggests continued discussion of the issue. The working paper analyzes current assault law in Canada, with attention to its English origins and shortcomings. An examination of Section 43 on corporal punishment is appended.