last updated 14 September 2007

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (DEVAW). This landmark document was the result of efforts of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and the U.N. Economic and Social Council to address violence against women. Although DEVAW, as a U.N. General Assembly declaration, does not have the binding legal authority of a convention or treaty, it is universal in coverage and a strong statement of principle to the international community. In defining violence against women, DEVAW explicitly includes "sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions or elsewhere." In order to combat sexual harassment and other acts of violence against women, states should work to prevent and investigate such acts. In addition, states should develop comprehensive legal, political, administrative, and cultural programs to prevent violence against women. States should provide training to law enforcement officials and collect statistics about the incidence of acts of violence against women.