"Slow violence" is harm and damage that plays out over years or decades. The perpetrators may not be obvious, but the victims are. Slow violence can also be experienced over many years, possibly even generations. It occurs "gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all. Like fast violence, people still suffer or even die, but the protagonists of the act are diffuse and often outside the reach of prosecution. Some of the blame might lie with an entire industry subtly polluting an ecosystem legally and collectively, while some blame may lie with a government policy written in a distant capital years before. The point is that slow violence does not always have a clear perpetrator.
Slow violence can be found embedded within the "slowly unfolding environmental catastrophes" of long-term pollution, climate change or nuclear fallout. It can also describe many kinds of harm that affect individuals and communities at a pace too slow to assign blame.