United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


United Nations Headquarters. DC1 Building. Room 613. One United Nations Plaza. New York, NY 10017. USA



The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated to assist Member States In their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development draws together the strands of peace, the rule of law, human rights, development and equality into a comprehensive and forward-looking framework. Reducing conflict, crime, violence, discrimination, and ensuring inclusion and good governance, are key elements of people’s well-being and essential for securing sustainable development. UNODC helps Member States to strengthen legislative, judicial and health systems to better safeguard their populations, especially the most vulnerable groups. Its work on preventing and addressing violence against women and promoting access to justice is part of its mandate to strengthen the rule of law through the prevention of crime and the promotion of effective, fair, humane and accountable criminal justice systems in line with the UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.

Policy framework

UNODC’s policy framework for addressing violence against women is contained in the following documents: (i) General Assembly resolution “Crime prevention and criminal justice measures to eliminate violence against women” (52/86); (ii) General Assembly resolution 48/104 (adopting the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women); (iii) General Assembly resolution 65/228 (adopting the Updated Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice;(iv) General Assembly resolution 65/229 (adopting United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules)); (v) Economic and Social Council resolution “Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime” (2005/20), which is pertinent to girls; (vi) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; and General Assembly resolutions on taking action against gender-related killing of women and girls (A/Res/68/191 and A/Res/70/176).

Areas of Focus

UNODC works to prevent and address violence against women and human trafficking , as well as to develop policies in support of women victims of violence, and women in prisons. UNODC integrates gender dimensions and the question of violence against women into its efforts to build the capacity of criminal justice systems. UNODC also assists Member States in addressing specific vulnerabilities of women and children who fall into the hands of smugglers.

UNODC offers assistance in strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice system responses to violence against women. Such responses include more efficient laws and policies and enhanced capacity of criminal justice systems to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish related crimes, to provide access to justice and legal aid and to assist and protect victims and witnesses. UNODC provides legal and policy advice, training and capacity building to Member States upon request.

The Office supports and undertakes research related to trafficking in persons, including on the nature of trafficking and national and regional responses to trafficking. UNODC implements technical assistance projects, produces and disseminates public service announcements to counter trafficking in persons, and conducts outreach activities.

Further, UNODC manages the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, that enables the provision of protection, humanitarian and legal assistance to victims of this crime, in particular women and girls who have been sexually exploited. Assistance is provided through a careful selection of projects implemented by specialized, grassroots NGOs worldwide.


  • Gender in the Criminal Justice System Assessment Tool (2010). The tool forms part of the Criminal Justice Assessment Toolkit and it addresses inter alia the treatment of survivors of violence against women by the criminal justice system.
  • Strengthening Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses to Violence against Women (2014). This tool contains an implementation plan for criminal justice systems to prevent and respond to violence against women.
  • Handbook on Effective Police Responses to Violence against Women (2010).
  • Training Curriculum on Effective Police Responses to Violence against Women (2010).
  • Handbook on Effective Prosecution Responses to Violence against Women and Girls (2014). 
  • Resource Book for Trainers on Effective Prosecution Responses to Violence against Women and Girls (2017).
  • Toolkit on Strengthening the Medico-Legal Response to Sexual Violence (2017).
  • Gender-Related killing of Women and Girls Brochure (2015).
  • Essential services package for women and girls subject to violence (2015).
  • A Practitioner's Toolkit on Women's Access to Justice Programming (2018).
  • The Bangkok Rules-United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders with their Commentary (2015).
  • Handbook on Women and Imprisonment (2014).
  • Training curriculum on Women and Imprisonment Version 1.0 (2015).
  • Information note for criminal justice practitioners on non-custodial measures for women offenders (2015).
  • E-learning course on Alternatives to Imprisonment for Women Offenders.