The National Church of Iceland – in response to criticism over their response to allegations of sexual abuse within their walls – announced that it will now require that all church staff allow the bishop access to their police records. The new rule applies to both salaried staff and volunteers. Anyone who refuses access will be fired.
The move is actually in accordance with ethics guidelines established in 1998, but were never formally enforced. Any employee of the church may be asked to open their police records for the Office of the Bishop at any time. Those who decline to do so will be asked to leave, but the church will not pursue the matter further.
According to Eyjan, the law has actually required prospective priests to present access to their police records before they can begin their work, but the same has not been required of the many other staff who do work within the church. With this, Rev. Kristján Björnsson told reporters, the church has shown that it is taking steps to combat sexual abuse within its walls.
The measure does not say, however, if every single staff member within the national church will be asked to present their police records.
Furthermore, the church has also not rectified the controversy over their “policy of silence” with regards to sex abuse cases within its walls, nor have they come clean about how many cases of sexual abuse there have been within the church, apart from “more than one”.
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