A wilful act or statement calculated to cause physical harm to a victim and in fact causing physical harm to him or her is an assault.
An assault is any act which directly either intentionally or negligently causes the person immediately to apprehend a contact with his or her person. What is different about assault as a tort compared to for example negligence is that the intention element is totally different.
Assault also carries the potential of making a claim for aggravated damages. Aggravated damages represent a loading or penalty against the person or people that committed the assault.
Many people assume that if they are assaulted the ramifications that flow from this are connected to police action and possibly a victims compensation claim.
In some cases that is correct, however in many cases a compensation claim can be made against the person that committed the assault.