TWO women's groups on Rabi and Taveuni islands are reaching out to people in their communities on the need to put a stop to the increasing number of rape cases in the Northern Division.
Taveuni Support Women's Group co-ordinator, Volau Yavalanavanua and Rabi Women Group co-ordinator, Terikano Takesau have admitted that little has been done to address the alarming increase in sexual offences committed.
Ms Takesau said there was a need for more awareness programs and that the women's group on Rabi Island would increase its awareness programs on the island.
"There is a need to keep our people informed on the laws that govern them and the need to call on our men to stand up for the protection of their women and children," said Ms Takesau.
"Speaking from personal experience, I often find it disheartening to see people open their mouths in amazement and nod their heads when we discuss the sexual offences as covered under the new Crimes Decree and we know for a fact that it is the first time that they are hearing about these issues.
"There is a need to inform our people and awareness programs are the way to get down to our people at the community level," she said.
Mrs Yavalanavanua also voiced similar sentiments stating that there was a need to keep people at the grassroots level informed.
"It is true that at the end of the day it boils down to the individual's choices.
"The choice that people make on whether to commit a crime or not.
"But it will be too sad if we do not do our part in ensuring that our people are informed of the right choices that they should make," said Mrs Yavalavanua.