ABH vs GBH: Difference and Comparison

Hurting or harming a person can lead to a set of severe consequences. Every country has a set of rules and regulations that make people know what exactly can get them punished.

Two such punishable harms that an offender can do are the ABH and GBH. These are the forms of crimes that would be heard in court.

The main differences between these two lie in ABH being a minor harm, whereas GBH is more harmful.

Key Takeaways

  1. ABH (Actual Bodily Harm) involves minor injuries; GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm) deals with severe injuries.
  2. ABH falls under Section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; GBH falls under Sections 18 and 20.
  3. GBH charges result in harsher sentences than ABH charges due to the severity of the injuries caused.

ABH vs GBH

ABH is a criminal offense in the UK that involves causing harm to another person that is more than trivial or minor, but less serious than GBH. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. GBH is a more serious criminal offense than ABH, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

ABH vs GBH

ABH is the type of crime that includes giving an injury to a person that is not severe. A weapon may not be used. Also, the person doesn’t intentionally harm the other person.

And sometimes, only a force is used that might end up causing injuries.

This doesn’t require a lot of police intervention, and the matter is seen as trivial; the maximum punishment given is imprisonment for over five years.

GBH is a much more severe type of harm. A person is harmed intentionally, and a weapon can be involved.

It affects the person who is attacked as they have to face a medical condition. However, this doesn’t cause death in them.

Also, the punishment is much more extreme, ranging from life imprisonment to high fines. The United Kingdom has different rules regarding how they should be treated.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonABHGBH
SeriousnessIt is a less severe form of injury,It is a more severe form of damage.
Maximum punishmentThe maximum punishment for ABH is imprisonment for five years.The maximum sentence of GBH is life imprisonment and unlimited fines.      
IntentionHere the harm may be unintentionally caused.The harm is intentionally caused in most cases.
Condition of victimThe victim faces minor injuries.The victim needs a considerable amount of medical help.
SectionsIt is present in section 47 of the Offense Against a Person Act.It is present in sections 18 and 20 of the  Offenses Against A Person Act.

What is ABH?

The complete form of ABH is ‘actual bodily harm.’ Just as the name says, it leaves visible damage to a person. Abh is the type of crime that includes giving an injury to a person that is not severe.

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A weapon may not be used. Also, the person doesn’t intentionally harm the other person. And sometimes, only a force is used that might end up causing injuries.

An example of this crime is when someone is angry at another and slaps or pushes him.

Also, the punishment that is involved in it is much lower. It can be a certain amount of fine or imprisonment for a maximum period of ten years.

The thing that is essential to consider is that the injury doesn’t cause permanent damage. This term is mainly used in European nations and Australia. It is listed in ‘section 47’ of the Offenses Against A Person Act.

Here proof of the crime is necessary.

A person hurt in the process must have proper evidence as to who hurt him, in what manner, whether the attacker was provoked, whether the attack was intentional, pictures of the injury, the amount of damage, and whether they weren’t intoxicated at the time of the crime, are all determining factors which decide as what punishment finally should be given.

What is GBH?

The complete form of Gbh is ‘grievous bodily harm.’ It is a much more severe type of harm. A person is harmed intentionally, and a weapon can be involved.

It affects the person who is attacked as they have to face a medical condition. However, this doesn’t cause death in them.

This can be a part of certain serious offenses, and it’s named as the amount of damage that is done in it leaves a permanent mark on the physical and mental well-being of the person.

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It is the worst form of physical assault.

In this act, the punishment is much more extreme, ranging from life imprisonment to a very high amount fine. The United Kingdom and Australia have different rules regarding how they should be treated.

It is present in sections eighteen and twenty of the  Offence Against A Person Act. The terms associated with it are the wound, the seriousness, and maliciously committing this act.

Also, proof of the crime is necessary. A person who has been hurt in the process must have proper evidence as to who hurt him, in what manner, whether the attacker was provoked, what weapon was involved, pictures of the injury, the amount of damage, and whether they weren’t intoxicated at the time of the crime, and how he needed much medical help.

All determining factors decide what punishment should finally be given.

Main Differences Between ABH and GBH

  1. ABH is a less severe form of injury. Whereas a GBH is a more severe form of injury
  2. The maximum punishment for ABH is imprisonment for five years. At the same time, the ultimate penalty of GBH is life imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
  3. In ABH, the harm may be unintentionally done; in GBH, the damage is intentional in most cases.
  4. The victim faces minor injuries in ABH. Whereas the victim needs a high amount of medical help in GBH.
  5. The ABH is present in section 47 of the Offenses Against A Person Act. At the same time, GBH is present in sections eighteen and twenty of the  Offence Against A Person Act.
References
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2259423
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09585189908402138

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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11 thoughts on “ABH vs GBH: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The severity of the injuries and the intention behind them are carefully delineated, shedding light on the legal implications of ABH and GBH. Well-written and informative piece.

    Reply
  2. An insightful article, clearly distinguishing between ABH and GBH. The nuances in legal definitions are adeptly presented and serve as a valuable learning resource.

    Reply
  3. The article proves helpful information on the differences between ABH and GBH, and the possible punishments for each. It’s very informative and important for everyone to know about these crucial distinctions.

    Reply
  4. The article’s explanation of ABH and GBH is quite clinical, but important to comprehend, especially when considering legal repercussions for the offenses.

    Reply
    • Agreed. It’s critical to have a clear understanding of these legal terminologies and their respective implications in various contexts.

      Reply
  5. The legal comparisons between ABH and GBH are detailed and well-articulated, providing readers with vital information on these crucial distinctions.

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  6. The exposition of ABH and GBH in the article is meticulously informative, offering valuable insights into significant legal terminology distinctions.

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  7. A thorough analysis of the distinctions between ABH and GBH, highlighting the significant legal consequences of each. Valuable insights into these important legal aspects.

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