Commission on Status of Women to Focus on Ending Violence against Females during Fifty-seventh Session at Headquarters, 4–15 March

4 March 2013

Commission on Status of Women to Focus on Ending Violence against Females during Fifty-seventh Session at Headquarters, 4–15 March

4 March 2013
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Background Release

Commission on Status of Women to Focus on Ending Violence against Females


during Fifty-seventh Session at Headquarters, 4–15 March


The fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women opens on 4 March at United Nations Headquarters, and will focus on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, including two key areas — preventing violence and providing support services and responses to female survivors.

It is expected that the Commission will agree on urgent actions needed to make a real difference in the lives of women and girls.  According to estimates, up to 7 in 10 women around the world will be beaten, raped, abused or mutilated in their lifetimes.  Violence against women is universal, prevalent in all countries and settings.  A gross human rights violation, it fractures families and communities, hampers development and costs countries billions of dollars annually in health-care costs and lost productivity.

Women and girls comprise 98 per cent of all people suffering forcible exploitation, most of whom are trafficked, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).  In some countries, between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims are killed by intimate partners, as reported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  Between 100 and 140 million girls have been subjected to female genital mutilation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cost analyses of violence against women, carried out in several countries, including Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States, reveals that the annual cost may vary from $1.16 to $32.9 billion, in spite of significant progress.  Today, 187 countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the United Nations Security Council now recognizes sexual violence as a deliberate tactic of war.  The Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign, launched in 2008 and managed by UN-Women, is a system-wide initiative that aims to raise public awareness and increase the political will and resources needed to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

Even though more than 125 countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence, a historic number, 603 million women live in countries where it is still not a crime.  As vividly demonstrated in 2012, violence against women and girls remains a horrific reality across the world.

An unprecedented 6,000 civil society representatives are registered to attend this year’s session of the Commission, which will open with statements by the Executive Director of UN-Women — formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the Special Rapporteur on violence.

The session will be structured around a general discussion addressed by representatives of Member States, a high-level round table and five panel discussions.  Details on the official sessions are available at

The Commission will be informed by recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s reports Prevention of violence against women and girls (document E/CN.6/2013/4) and Multisectoral services and responses for women and girls subjected to violence (document E/CN.6/2013/3).

During the two-week session, 119 side events organized by Member States and entities of the United Nations system will take place in the North Lawn Temporary Conference Building (, and non-governmental organizations will also host about 300 parallel events, primarily at the Church Centre located across from United Nations Headquarters (

For United Nations press accreditation, visit  For a live webcast of the Commission on the Status of Women, visit

Media contacts:  Oisika Chakrabarti — or +1 646 781 4522; Hadrien Bonnaud — or +1 646 781 4751; and Sharon Grobeisen — or +1 646 781 4753.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.