LEADERS are being encouraged to make a stand against violence.
The Information Ministry noted that community leaders are being encouraged to make a stand against violence targeting women and children.
The chief of Waikalou Village in Naitasiri, Ratu Roseru Tuisese, played a key role in calling for such measures in the declaration of Waikalou as a violence-free community.
The declaration was accompanied by a gathering of 100 people who witnessed the unveiling of a billboard symbolising such commitment to safety and security.
It was unveiled by Social Welfare Minister Dr Jiko Luveni.
This is to be achieved through the implementation of a Zero Tolerance Violence-Free Community Campaign.
Ratu Roseru said it was largely because of awareness and training programs in Waikalou that significant changes were in progress, stating how "the people of Waikalou are very happy with the visit by the minister ... and it is through her ministry's continued support that we have made a firm commitment to eliminate violence in our homes and community".
Dr Luveni's address emphasised on gender equality.
She noted how "the campaign is unique as it inculcates a collaborative platform between the stakeholders to work together with the communities in eliminating violence."
Dr Luveni also commented on the positive impact of the formation of gatekeeping committees.
Waikalou Women's Group president Ivamere Tuinasau noted how encouraging the campaign, which now includes 60 communities, had been with regard to the number of people reporting cases to the police.
She also raised the point that men and boys were encouraged to share household chores and responsibilities.
"It's inspiring to see that respecting women and children has become a prime discussion at prayer meetings as well," she said.