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The below details are correct at time of publishing, and are provided as guidance only. Seek legal advice from your solicitor where necessary.

There are three different categories of assault: Assault, Assault Causing Harm, and Assault Causing Serious Harm. The use or expected use of force is an important element to all three categories of assault. A definition of force includes any form of energy for example heat, light, electric current or noise or any matter in solid, liquid or gaseous form.

Yes - the prosecution’s case is determined by the category of offence. Definitions of Assault Causing Harm and Assault Causing Serious Harm exist in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Usually an assault is reported by the victim or someone on behalf of them. Call your local Garda station or in the event of an emergency dial 999/112. Gardaí will then meet the victim and take a statement as soon as possible.

Yes. Once a statement has been taken, Gardaí, where possible, will also photograph the injuries to the victim. If necessary, Gardaí may also get a victim’s written permission to obtain their medical records regarding treatment for their injuries. The investigation will then take its course.

For more information on reporting sexual assaults and related crime, please check out our Sexual Crime section.

Statistics show a rise in assaults in last number of years in line with the rise in the night-time economy which has recovered since the recession. For example, in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, the number of assaults causing harm rose from 1,396 in 2012 to 1,707 in 2015, while minor assaults increased from 3,100 to 3,337 in the same period. However, assaults nationally have shown a decline with minor assaults down 2% and assaults causing harm down 4%.

Street assaults typically occur between 8pm and 5am at the weekend. There is a strong link between intoxication, and thefts, robberies and assaults. Our analysis shows that 83% of offenders in assault cases are male. The majority of offenders are aged between 18 and 39. Furthermore, 70% of assaults are male-on-male, while 75% of assault victims are male.

Be streetwise when you’re out and about. Planning is key to having a good night out. Arrange transport to and from events in advance. Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back. Avoid walking alone and in dark places. Be wary of your surroundings and mind your property. Never attempt to reason with drunk or aggressive people. Walk away and look for help.