Taking note of the sentencing of the four accused found guilty in the ghastly attack on the 23-year-old Delhi Student in December 2012, UN Women has asked the government to adopt a comprehensive approach to end violence against women.

"While the United Nations does not support capital punishment, perpetrators of crimes against women must be brought to justice. Evidence from across the world suggests that higher conviction rates serve as deterrents to violence. We, therefore, call on the Government of India to do everything in its power to ensure speedy justice for survivors of violence, especially those from marginalized communities,’’ Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, Representative, UN Women’s Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka said here on Friday.

The December attack was the tipping point that has brought attention to violence against women not only in India but globally. Many progressive reforms and changes have resulted – for example the historic Justice Verma Committee, which informed the subsequent approval by Parliament of the Criminal Amendment Act 2011, she said.

The Act called for an end to impunity, and recognized a broad range of sexual crimes against women. The Law acknowledges that lesser crimes often escalate to graver ones – and deterrence is important.

The Indian criminal justice system is responding to the issue of crime in all its complexity. Many aspects of the infrastructure of Indian traditional criminal justice policy are undergoing fundamental rethinking. The recent approaches to policing, adjudication, sentencing, imprisonment and community corrections are changing in significant ways.

But laws by themselves are not the solution-- their implementation also matters as does changing mindsets. Violence against women is preventable, not inevitable. Prevention is achievable because the majority of the factors associated with men’s use of violence can be changed, Ms Tavares said.

"Violence against women should become unacceptable, for example through community mobilisation, school and sports based programmes and engagement with people who influence culture. Violence against women is not a women’s issue but a human rights issue. UN Women joins the Government and people of India in recognizing that we need to take stronger action together to change the present reality. Every girl and woman has the right to a life free of violence,’’ the UN Women said.

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