CHURCHES have made a commendable move over the past decade to try and address issues of rape and violence against women, says Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) secretary general Reverend Francois Pihaatae.
The statement was made in response to one issued by the Information Ministry earlier this week urging churches to be more proactive on these issues.
Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns said more must to be done by all members of the community, including senior religious figures.
"I duly respect the view of the government on this issue and on the other hand I thank the efforts of the churches, NGOs and faith-based organisations," Mr Pihaatae said.
He said although issues pertaining to sexuality were a taboo in churches in the past decade, churches in the Pacific made major efforts to try and include these critical issues in their agenda to discuss and address them.
"I think it takes time for the churches to get out of their normal practices and engage in a field where their presence is also needed on the aspect of spiritual guidance, however, I respect and accept this as a challenge for the churches to pick up.
"The PCC stands to encourage and assist the churches on how to address these critical issues from the pulpit and through their gatherings, but I also believe that this is everyone's responsibility."
Ms Smith-Johns said more needed to be done by individuals as well as non-government and faith-based organisations.
"As a society we cannot simply sit back and ignore these issues. It's time that everyone in the country takes responsibility," she said.