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Assault is a crime of violence against another person. In some jurisdictions, including Australia and New Zealand, assault refers to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, while in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, assault refers only to the threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force. Simple assaults that do not involve any aggravation such as use of a deadly weapon are distinguished from aggravated assaults in some jurisdictions.
Assault is often defined to include not only violence, but any physical contact with another person without their consent. In common law jurisdictions, including England and Wales and the USA, battery is the crime that represents the unlawful physical contact, though this distinction does not exist in all jurisdictions. Exceptions exist to cover unsolicited physical contact which amount to normal social behavior (for example, patting someone on the back): see (in England and Wales) Collins v. Wilcox  3 All ER 374.
In most jurisdictions, the intention to cause grievous bodily harm (or its equivalent) may amount to the mental requirement to prefer a charge of murder in circumstances where the harm inflicted upon the victim proves fatal. In England and Wales, this fact was criticised by Lord Edmund-Davies in Cunningham  AC 566.