MORE than 80 representatives from 11 Western Division communities converged at the Lautoka Hotel yesterday to discuss violence against women and children issues.
The Zero Tolerance Violence Free Communities Gatekeepers consultation was opened by West Planning Officer Luke Moroivalu who emphasised the need for women to be recognised and respected.
"The non-involvement of women at decision-making level with the lower earning capacity of women, lack of assets and economic security contribute significantly to women being targets of violence," he said.
Mr Moroivalu said the international theme for 16 Days of Activism on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children this year — 'From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World' — was an appropriate reminder that violence-free communities began with peace in individual homes.
The DPO highlighted government's commitment to addressing violence against women and children with the introduction of new legislation including the Family Law Act, Domestic Violence Decree, Child Welfare Decree and the Crimes Decree.
Mr Moroivalu commended the representatives from villages and communities chosen to be gatekeepers who were attending the consultations and urged them to be diligent and vigilant.
"Government cannot fight this battle alone and therefore for effective intervention a co-ordinated effort is needed," he said.