LOS ANGELES - Angelina Jolie has urged United Nations peacekeepers to crack down on sexual violence .

The 42-year-old actress referenced the recent sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood - which have seen several big-names, including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey accused of sexual harassment - in a forceful speech in which she called for the ‘’abuse’’ to be taken more seriously.

Speaking at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference in Vancouver, she said: ‘’Sexual violence is everywhere - in the industry where I work, in business, in universities, in politics, in the military, and across the world.

‘’All too often, these kinds of crimes against women are laughed off, depicted as a minor offence by someone who cannot control themselves, as an illness, or as some kind of exaggerated sexual need. But a man who mistreats women is not oversexed. He is abusive.’’

Angelina described sexual violence as ‘’a critical obstacle to achieving women’s equality and our full human rights’’ and asked peacekeepers to treat it as a weapon and to help to prevent it.

She added: ‘’It is cheaper than a bullet, and it has lasting consequences that unfold with sickening predictability that make it so cruelly effective.’’

In October, Angelina admitted she had previously tried to ‘’warn’’ other women about working with Weinstein after having a ‘’bad experience’’ with him during her younger years.

She said: ‘’I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did.

‘’This behaviour towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.’’

Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence has claimed she was once ‘’punished’’ by a producer for standing up for herself when a director said something abusive to her.

The 27-year-old actress was left fearing the end of her career when an unnamed producer allegedly told her she was being ‘’unruly’’ for calling out a director’s behaviour on set, and claims she was punished by being branded as ‘’difficult’’ to work with.

Speaking during The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Actress Roundtable, the ‘Hunger Games’ star said: ‘’I finally made the decision to stand up for myself, and then I went to go to the bathroom at work and one of the producers stopped me and was like, ‘You know, we can hear you on the microphone, you’ve been really unruly’. Which was not true, but basically my job was threatened because the director said something abusive to me and I said, ‘That’s sick, you can’t talk to me like that.’

‘’And then I was punished. I got afraid that I wasn’t going to be hired again. I was called ‘difficult’ and a ‘nightmare.’’’

The ‘Passengers’ actress also noted that many women who experience harassment in the work place don’t come forward because ‘’they’re afraid they’re not going to work again.’’

She added: ‘’You need to be able to say, ‘This is wrong’ and have somebody do something about it instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s wrong? Well, you’re fired.’’’

Jennifer addressed the larger issue of sexual misconduct at work - which has been a talking point since Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment by a number of women over a 30-year period - and hopes that the ‘’conversation’’ that is happening now will spark change going forward.

She said: ‘’The big misconception, though, is that this is just in the entertainment industry. Once again, the entertainment industry is kind of the stage on which you can see the inner workings of problems that are all over the world. If a flight attendant comes forward about a pilot, it doesn’t end up in the news because nobody knows about it. That doesn’t mean that there’s less sexual abuse going on anywhere else in the world, in any other place of work. But fortunately, we’re starting the conversation now.’’