The Minister for iTaukei Affairs Ifereimi Vasu has expressed deep concern over the commonplace nature of violence and its traumatic impacts.
Vasu says we often discuss these issues yet fail to provide safety for our women and children, as this causes tragic loss of lives and lasting scars left on victims.
He says it’s time to actively combat this violence and protect the vulnerable.
Vasu says the Ministry announced a firm stance against the escalating issues of drug abuse and violence, particularly in iTaukei villages, responding to the distressing data on violence against women and children in Fiji.
He says Fiji faces one of the highest regional violence rates, with statistics showing that two-thirds of women and three-quarters of children experience violence within their homes, often at the hands of family members.
Vasu says that he raised this at some Provincial Council meetings this year and it will be re-emphasized in the upcoming consultations sessions on the Integrated Village Development Plan.
He says the issue of drugs and violence will be a key topic, challenging village elders to devise effective strategies to address these concerns within iTaukei communities.
The Minister adds that iTaukei villages are overseen by Turaga ni Koros and village development committees, which enforce the village council regulations to maintain good governance and well-being including community safety.
The Minister highlighted that the upcoming review of the iTaukei Administration will consider integrating drug abuse and violence prevention into existing frameworks.
He says this includes strengthening the roles of existing committees in each village to respond better to incidents of violence and drug abuse, particularly the village nurses.