What is Actus Reus?

The term 'actus reus,' originating from Latin, is used in the field of criminology to refer to the physical or external element of a crime.

This concept is considered as one of the two essential components that must be present for a person to be convicted of a crime. The other essential element is mens rea, which refers to the 'guilty mind' or the mental state or intent behind the actions.

The actus reus can take various forms depending on the nature of the crime. For instance, in a theft case, the actus reus could include physically taking someone else's property without their consent. Similarly, in an assault case, the actus reus might involve intentionally causing physical harm to another person.

For actus reus to be considered present, the actions or behaviors in question must be voluntary and deliberate. However, if a person is acting under duress or physical incapacity, they may not be found guilty of actus reus.

Criminologists consider the concept of actus reus as vital in the field of criminology. By analyzing the physical and external elements of a crime, they can better understand the causes and consequences of criminal behavior.

As a result, they can develop strategies for preventing and addressing criminal behavior, which contributes to a safer and more just society.