What are Lateral Violence and Vertical Violence?

These two terms came up during the discussions about the Monterey Park shooting. It was also raised in the murder of Tyre Nichols, and the mass shooting in Half Moon Bay. The following definitions are from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation:

Vertical violence: A term used to describe abusive behaviours towards those in less powerful positions. Vertical violence is a broad term which may include bullying, harassment, intimidation or acts of physical violence. It may occur in the workplace, in schools or in social settings.

Lateral violence: Displaced violence directed against one’s peers rather than adversaries. This construct is one way of explaining minority-on-minority violence in developed nations. It is a cycle of abuse and its roots lie in factors such as: colonisation, oppression, intergenerational trauma and the ongoing experiences of racism and discrimination.

Lateral violence is also called “horizontal violence”.

A simple web search for “lateral violence” brought up links about lateral violence in nursing.

According to Lateral Violence In Nursing, What It Is And How You Can Cope:

Yet, many nurses both new and experienced report a significant lack of support and even bullying in their places of employment. This toxicity is often referred to as lateral violence, meaning aggressive behaviors happening internally between colleagues. These behaviors may be seen nurse to nurse or between nurses and supervisors.

The article gets into theories of why this lateral violence exists, and how it might be ended.

The mass shooting in Half Moon Bay was a form of lateral violence.

The mass shooting in Monterey Park may, or may not have been, lateral violence.

The shooting of Tyre Nichols may have been lateral violence.






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