All employees of the National Church of Iceland must now sign a document where they give their permission to have their backgrounds and criminal records investigated.
After extensive discussions about sex offenses within the National Church of Iceland it was decided at a church convention in 2009 that the church’s employees must agree to have their backgrounds checked, visir.is reports.
Last year, the decision was taken one step further. “At first it was discussed in regard to full-time employees, priests and staff working with children and teenagers, but it has now been extended,” Bishop of Iceland Agnes Sigurðardóttir explained.
“Now each parish council can decide how far to take the initiative and that everyone who enters through the church’s doors has to sign such a document, even if they’re just washing dishes in the kitchen or something like that,” the bishop elaborated.
This also applies to employees and volunteers who began working for the church before 2009. Their backgrounds are searched for violations against the laws on child protection or penal code, convictions of acts of violence or sexual abuse, etc. The condition for the background checks is the signature of each individual.
“The goal is of course to guarantee that we can have professional and safe work methods within the church,” Agnes stressed.
“I believe it is necessary to have such an arrangement in all institutions and workplaces where children are facilitated, that staff and those who work with children, volunteers and others, give their permission for having their backgrounds checked,” the bishop concluded.
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