RELIGIOUS leaders in the country have been urged to join the fight against the recent increase in sexual offences and the abuse of women and children.
Making the plea to spiritual heads of Christians, Hindus, Muslims and other religious leaders was the Minister for Defence, Joketani Cokanasiga, after the end of his Western Division tour with the Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua last week.
"What we have seen so far has been encouraging although we know that there are certain areas that we need to address," he said.
"One item that we have to talk about is the case of violence against women and children.
"We want to know if it's happening here or not and what are the lessons that we need to learn because we do feel that we maybe hoisting our flags and patting ourselves on the back for our progress but ultimately and eventually our progress will be judged by our moral values that we uphold.
"We would like to ask the community leaders, the talatala, the padres, the pastors and youth leaders for their assistance towards addressing and arresting this trend."
Mr Cokanasiga said the police force could not do the work on its own.
"I think that it's well beyond the breadth of the police. This is an issue that needs to be addressed by the community at large and of course you can count on the help of the police to ensure that they give the assistance to the community," he said.