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A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end, (including criminal ends) such as robbery. Violent crimes include crimes committed with and without weapons. With the exception of rape (which accounts for 6% of all reported violent crimes), males are the primary victims of all forms of violent crime.[1]

Violent crime by country

The comparison of violent crime statistics between countries is usually problematic, due to the way different countries classify crime.[2] Valid comparisons require that similar offences between jurisdictions be compared. Often this is not possible because crime statistics aggregate equivalent offences in such different ways that make it difficult or impossible to obtain a valid comparison.


The Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC)[3] document published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not have a single category for violent crime. Rather, violent crime is classified under a number of different categories that often indicate a range of both violent and non-violent behaviour. The categories include:[4]


Canada classifies homicides, attempted murder, all assaults, all sexual offences, abduction and robbery as violent crime.[5]

New Zealand

New Zealand's crime statistics [6][7] has a category for violence that includes homicides, kidnapping, abduction, robbery, assaults, intimidation, threats, and group assembly, while all sexual offences are shown in a separate category from violence.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

Includes all violence against the person, sexual offences, and robbery as violent crime.[8]

United States

The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) counts five categories of crime as violent crimes: murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. According to BJS figures, the rate of violent crime victimization in the United States declined by more than half between the years 1994 and 2001.[9]


Below are some forms of violent crimes outlawed by governmental legal entities:[citation needed]

Type Meaning
Abuse To use wrongly or improperly used; misuse
Child abuse Cruelty to children (people under the age of 18)
Sexual abuse The act of injuring a person during sexual activity without mutual consent for the gratification of the abuser.
Child sexual abuse When an adult forces a minor to engage in sexual activity, especially without regard for the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the child who, by government law, cannot consent since it is believed that anyone under the age of 18 years does not have a developed enough understanding of sexuality.
Child-on-child sexual abuse When a minor abuses another child sexually. No adult is involved.
Assault and battery An assault involving actual bodily contact
Assault An unlawful physical attack upon another or threat to do violence to another
Aggravated assault Assault with the use of weapons or in other circumstances beyond the realm of normal assault
Sexual assault When a person—regardless of gender—forcefully engages another person in sexual activity without mutual consent.
Battery An unlawful attack upon another person by beating or wounding, or by touching in an offensive manner
Aggravated battery
Sexual battery
Cruelty to animals A cruel act upon an animal
Domestic violence Acts of violence against a person living in one's household or a member of one's immediate family
Sexual harassment
Homicide The killing of another human being
Murder Homicide in certain proscribed conditions
Aggravated murder
Sexual murder
Property damage Damage to another's property (i.e.: breaking of things, burning, or harming in a devastating manner)
Rape The unlawful compelling of someone through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse
Statutory rape Consensual sexual relations between an adult and a person below the local age of consent.
Robbery Use of force or threat of force in the commission of theft.


  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics Victim Characteristics
  2. Segessenmann, Tanya Section 2 - International Comparisons of Recorded Violent Crime Rates for 2000, Research & Evaluation Unit,Ministry of Justice, Wellington, New Zealand. 11 June 2002 Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics 1234.0 - Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC), 1997. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  4. Segessenmann. Table A2
  5. Segessenmann. Table A4.
  6. Official New Zealand Police Statistics
  7. Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand Recorded Crime Tables
  8. Segessenmann. Table A3.
  9. Bureau of Justice Statistics Violent Crime Rate Trends

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