The UN on Monday said it was "extremely concerned" about the number of gang-rape cases in India and said the mindset towards women and girl child must change.
Condemning the gang-rape and death of the student in Delhi, UNICEF in India also said it is "alarming" that one in three of the rape victims is a child and the "mind-set towards the girl child and women needs to change."
"More than 7,200 children, including infants, are raped every year. Given the stigma attached to rapes, especially when it comes to children, this most likely is only the tip of the ice berg," said Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative to India said.
"We are extremely concerned about the number of rape cases throughout India and the widespread pattern of violence against women," said Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator in India.
"India is growing and advancing rapidly but it is deeply worrying that many women have little say in their homes and communities and are viewed as liabilities. Girls and women need to be valued, respected and feel safe, not only within the confines of their homes but also in public spaces," the officials said in a joint statement.
Noting that the steps being taken by the government to strengthen the safety of women and girls are welcome and urgent, the two officials said that in the months ahead, it will be equally important that the authorities and civil society work together to address the underlying causes of violence against women and girls.
"The UN stands ready to provide support to the Government and civil society to address violence against women. As we enter the new year of 2013, there is no higher priority," they added.