METHODOLOGY: Literature Review and medico-legal commentary.
RESULTS: Fatal one-punch assaults have been reported extensively in the media. This article provides a commentary on recent policy developments and legislative amendments in Australia regarding so called 'one-punch' assaults. Comparisons are made with the situation in other jurisdictions including the UK, US, and Europe. The clinical forensic medical aspect of fist strikes to the head and face is examined in the context of the recent media attention and public interest these cases have attracted. The increased recognition of the risk of harm and death inherent in these types of assaultive behavior is reflected in the policy and legislative changes that have taken place in some jurisdictions.
CONCLUSION: One punch strikes may result in a range of injuries that can include permanent neurological impairment and death. Recent media and community concern regarding these cases and the need for stronger deterrence has resulted in a change in public policy and consequent legislative amendments.