Who Commits Assault & Why?

This post is a part of our guide series to support anyone who may have been assaulted in the past or has questions around the topic:

What is Assault? Definitions & Meanings
Who Commits Assault & Why?
What counts as Assault?
How to Report Assault (and Who to Report it to)
How is Assault Proven in Court?
Punishment & Sentencing for Assault
How to Heal and Recover from Assault
What Impact Does Assault Have on Victims, Families & Friends?
What Effects Does Assault Have on Wider Society?
How can Assault be Prevented?
Assault Data & Statistics
Assault Helplines, Support & Further Reading

Assault can be carried out by anyone and the victim can be anyone, it can happen regardless of gender, age, sexuality, race or any other factor.

It can be difficult to understand the motives of people who commit assault, please note that assaulting anybody is wrong in any circumstance and that this article does not in any way intend to justify or rationalise it. Rather it intends to look into questions which arise when individuals come across these type of situations.

So who are the people that commit assault and why? We will look at the answers to these questions and more in this guide.

Why does assault happen and what causes it?

This can be a very difficult question to answer, even the strongest attempt to try and research why assault happens and what causes it could not provide you with a complete understanding on this. However, let’s look at some of the factors which may contribute to why assaults happen and what may cause it;

  • Substance abuse – this may influence how people act or respond in certain situations.
  • Mental health issues – for example a sociopath or psychopath (anti-social personality disorder), the abuser will gain personal pleasure from seeing others in pain. Alternatively they may suffer from a disorder in which the abuser lacks empathy
  • Anger issues – the source of the anger may vary, could be linked to unresolved trauma. Could happen at any time and hard to control leading to assault
  • Having control issues – like to be in charge by having control over others, usually enforce this control by any means including assault

This list is indicative rather than fully comprehensive and there will be many other reasons why people commit assault. However this does not mean the abuser’s behaviour is justified but instead helps to give a better understanding on the type of factors that may influence the situation at the time.

Who commits Assault?

Unfortunately anyone can commit assault and it is a choice that an individual makes. We can try to look for factors that may contribute to this choice but it’s only fair that people who commit assault are held accountable for their actions. Whilst childhood abuse, trauma or other events could severely impact an individual’s behaviour into adulthood, it doesn’t change the fact that they had a choice, a choice not to cause harm or suffering to another person. The only exception would be if the abuser had a mental disorder in which they failed to understand the implications of their behaviour, this would be worse if left undiagnosed.

Is there a type of person or personality more likely to commit Assault?

Most of these individuals are unhappy people with serious inferiority complexes, unfortunately they feel good about themselves by hurting and controlling others. Being in control and in charge is a way of healing their insecurities, it’s all about them, and very rarely will they have room to think for their victims.

Can habitually or long-term violent people change?

For habitually or long-term violent people to change, it is possible but it is not something the victim or anyone else can try to do, the individual needs to want to change themselves. It can take time and effort and there is professional help available for individuals who are wanting to change, again it will be up to the individual to reach out for this support and commit themselves.

We understand how difficult it is to see someone you know or love experiencing abuse, sometimes trying to help a victim is not easy. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and the first step that you should take is to talk to someone. No one should have to deal with abuse alone.

Here at the Criminal Injuries Helpline, we help victims of violent crime and abuse recover compensation. You may want to help the victim gain some justice, get in touch with us today to see if the victim would qualify.

Request a Call Back

No win no fee = no risk to you. Complete this simple form to speak to an expert in confidence.

    Was it reported to the police? *