Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ understandings, experiences and impacts of lateral violence within the workplace

Taneisha Webster, Yvonne Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lateral violence is the act of directing one’s dissatisfaction inwards, towards another member of an oppressed group. Lateral violence is believed to be an ongoing and intergenerational consequence of colonisation and oppression for many Indigenous peoples around the world. Within Australian, oppression in the form of racism and negative stereotypes has consequently enabled lateral violence to thrive in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and in the workplace. The undermining of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ identity and authenticity is a powerful and destructive tool of lateral violence. Lateral violence within the workplace can be via disempowering structures, management, ignorance, and lack of understanding and acknowledgement. To further explore this issue, the current study used a survey methodology to examine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ understandings, experiences and impacts of lateral violence within the workplace, as well as participants’ experiences of reporting lateral violence via a national online questionnaire. Of the 120 participants in the present study, 90% reported having experienced lateral violence within the workplace, while 86% reported having witnessed lateral violence. For nearly 40% of participants, experiencing or witnessing lateral violence was a weekly or daily occurrence. These experiences were reported to be associated with feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger. Furthermore, 59% of participants who reported lateral violence to a supervisor stated that they were largely unsupported. The results indicated that within the sample population lateral violence is highly prevalent and associated with negative impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ work satisfaction, and social and emotional wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-26
JournalThe Australian Community Psychologist
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jan 2024

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