What Does “Crimes Against The Person” Mean?

Violent crimes carry with them some of the most serious punishments in Canada’s Criminal Code. According to Statistics Canada, crimes against the person are acts or threats of violence to another individual. These charges include behaviours like assault, sexual assault, homicide, attempted murder, and robbery. Alternatively, there are crimes against property or society. 

In terms of the law, the word person does not mean an individual specifically—it describes one’s freedom, health, and consent. Harming one’s ability to express these attributes is considered a violent crime.

To learn more about what constitutes a crime against the person in Canada, keep reading:

Homicide and Attempted Murder

There are various degrees of murder, all of which count as violent crimes. These include infanticide, first and second-degree murder, as well as voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

An attempted yet unsuccessful murder is still considered a crime; for example, if the accused attempts to shoot the victim but they miss, and the victim escapes unharmed.

An exception to this law is when an individual kills an attacker in self-defence. This takes place when a victim kills a threatening person to protect themselves from harm.

Robbery and Kidnapping

Robberies that are carried out with violence or the threat of violence (displaying a weapon) are considered crimes against the person. Even though robbery may not cause bodily harm to the victim, it still threatens their person, so it is considered a violent crime.

The act of kidnapping is taking one person against their will and confining them to another location. When a minor is kidnapped, punishments for the accused increase. The sentencing for the accused will be more severe if the victim suffers bodily harm.

Assault, Battery, and Sexual Assault

Violent assault includes acts such as the use of a weapon, and bodily harm. Assault is considered the threat of harm, while battery is when the accused causes physical harm to the victim. Sexual assault involves touching another person without their consent in an offensive way. Committing sexual assault can result in being listed on a sex offender registry.

Uttering Threats and Criminal Harassment

Crimes against the person also include threats of violence, even if no violent act occurs. They are events that cause the victim to fear for their health and safety. Harassment includes stalking, tormenting, or annoying another. Hate crimes, another form of harassment, are when the victim is discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, skin colour, or other attributes. Violating a restraining order, sending emails, making phone calls, and cyberstalking are all considered harassment. 


Due to the severity of crimes against the person, the sentences can be extensive. The accused may be required to pay fines, restitution, or serve jail time (possibly for life). In the United States, crimes against the person can warrant the death penalty. 

If you are charged with a violent crime, the next course of action is to contact a criminal lawyer in Winnipeg. They can help you go over each detail of the case and find reasonable defences. Matt Gould is an experienced attorney in Winnipeg who can help you secure the best outcome possible; contact him today for more information.