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Fiji Time: 5:46 AM on Friday 19 September

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Settlers pledge to protect women and children from violence

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A SMALL community in Tavua has become the latest violence-free community.

Reservoir settlement was given the violence-free status last Friday by Minister for Women and Social Welfare Dr Jiko Luveni.

Dr Luveni said the community joined a long list of communities around the country that have made a commitment to protect women and children's rights.

"A lot of women go through physical abuse and are unable to ask for help," she said.

"They do not know who to turn to.

"Our laws have become stricter to ensure that women and children are protected from violence and abuse.

"Men are protected as well under these laws apart from women and children."

Newly-appointed gatekeeper of Reservoir settlement Apisalome Vunisa said the community was committed to maintaining its violence-free status.

"We hope that working together as a team with NGOs in Tavua and government departments, especially the Ministry of Social Welfare, we can make a difference," Mr Vunisa said.

"This is basically why we need this type of commitment not only from the residents but from concerned authorities."

He said while minor problems would arise, a more integrated effort was now expected from community members.

"We don't have major problems in Reservoir Rd but we have some teething problems like residential boundaries and arguments between family members over these issues.

"These are very small issues that we can address through negotiations but apart from that, we are doing well.

"We have the Duavata concept in place and now this zero tolerance on violence against women and children will further strengthen our efforts to establish a violence-free community.

"We have to change the mind-set of the people and that begins with education and raising more awareness.

"The commitment from our residents is there and we are going to keep that interest alive through more education and a more integrated approach," said Mr Vunisa.


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