Structural violence

What is it?

Structural violence comprises social, economic or cultural structures and conditions, which discriminate against individuals or groups of persons.

All forms of discrimination, such as unequal distribution of income and resources, educational opportunities and life expectancies, are part of structural violence. This includes everything that hinders individuals from tapping into their full potential and opportunities. Structural violence is distinguished from personal or direct violence, which is directly perpetuated by one or more people.

Structural violence is often not perceived by the people affected because restricted opportunities in life are generally not associated with social balance of power and discriminating structures. It is usually not easy to differentiate between structural and personal violence, all the more as structural violence is often difficult to grasp.