Lateral violence in Indigenous peoples

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Lateral violence is the tendency of peoples from oppressed groups to direct their frustration and anger from their experiences of oppression towards members of their own group. The aim of this study was to examine what is currently known about lateral violence in Indigenous peoples, the psychosocial effects of lateral violence on Indigenous peoples, and to determine whether there is empirical support for the Origins of Lateral Violence model. Methods: A scoping review was conducted using articles from both peer-review journals and grey literature databases. Results: Lateral violence was found to be common and normalised at all levels of the Indigenous communities included in our review. While little is known about the psychosocial effects of lateral violence in Indigenous peoples, lateral violence appears to effect one’s identity and sense of wellbeing. Support for the Origins of Lateral Violence model was also found. Conclusion: The findings indicate that a reliable measure of lateral violence would provide a means for determining prevalence rates and identifying vulnerable communities. Further research is needed to determine the role of the other identified causes of lateral violence and the effects of lateral violence on Indigenous peoples. KEY POINTS What is already known about this topic: (1) Lateral violence occurs in groups who experience oppression. (2) Lateral violence includes physical violence and intra-racial abuse such as gossiping, bullying, backstabbing and social isolation. (3) Lateral violence is proposed to occur in Indigenous communities. What this topic adds: (1) Lateral violence is common and normalised in Indigenous communities. (2) Lateral violence has significant effects on Indigenous people’s identity and wellbeing, therefore, notions of an “authentic” Indigenous person need to be dismantled in order to begin addressing lateral violence. (3) The research highlights the important need for further research to explore the effects of lateral violence on mental health and wellbeing In Indigenous peoples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Aboriginal people
  • horizontal violence
  • identity
  • Indigenous people
  • Lateral violence
  • psychosocial effects

Cite this