THE Methodist Church is taking a stand against violence, abuse and sexual offences against women and children.
This follows a call from Defence Minister Joketani Cokanasiga for all religious heads in the country to work with the authorities in raising awareness on crimes against women and children.
Methodist Church general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said the church was already involved in fighting such crimes.
"We are already part and parcel of the fight in trying to stop such crimes against women and children, especially those of violence, abuse and rape," said Mr Nawadra.
"We have started training sessions for our leaders, including those from around the Pacific where seminars were held.
"We are also planning to introduce these types of teachings in our curriculum at the Pacific Theological College.
"Next week we will start on the Social Christian Services Week. One of the main topics we'll be focusing on is physical abuse and violence against women and children."
Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said religious leaders and members of the community needed to intervene to decrease incidents of rape and violence and abuse against women and children.
Speaking at a town briefing in Rakiraki last Friday, Brig-Gen Naivalurua said more awareness and education must be carried out by community leaders.
"This is where I would ask council heads and community members to perhaps be more aggressive in the way we intervene," he said.
"I am using the word intervention instead of being proactive and that comes in many ways and in many forms.
"Awareness, education in schools, knocking on doors and it cannot be done by the police alone.
"It must be a joint effort.
"And by a joint effort, I mean not only by the police or the council but also the community must be bold enough to take that step forward for the sake of our children
"You've heard us talk about morality. The police are not equipped to fight against immorality and there are people out there who can do it better, those in the community, especially our talatala."