Statement against sexual violence
These are situations in which the perpetrator takes advantage of a minor victim, abuses the relationship of dependency (supervisor-subordinate etc.) or exploits the victim's vulnerable position.
Moreover, the Synod reminded that before entering into an employment relationship or before allowing a person to engage in any activity related to education, leisure, treatment or care of minors, it is necessary to obtain information whether or not that person is listed in the Register of Sexual Offenders.
Referring to the practical issues of reporting possible sexual abuse, the Synod pointed out two possible ways:
1) Direct notification to law enforcement agencies: The Synod reminded that each person holding an official function in the Church who in connection with their activities learned that a crime may have been committed, is obliged to immediately notify the prosecutor or the Police and take action to prevent the obliteration of evidence. Also, the competent diocesan bishop and the leading bishop of the Church must be notified.
2) Notification of the leading bishop of the Church by sending a message to a special e-mail address established as of June 1, 2019: Such notifications may then be the subject of preparatory proceedings within the meaning of the Disciplinary Regulations of the Church. If such a notification is found to be reliable, the law enforcement authorities will be notified and the pastor concerned (if he is the alleged perpetrator) should be suspended from his duties until the case is finally settled in due process.
At the same time, the Synod recommended that persons reporting sexual abuse should also be directed to the Church’s Centre for Mediation and Counselling to receive the necessary non-legal assistance. Attention was also drawn to the need to ensure that pastors and other active servants of the Church have access to appropriate materials and training related to the problem of sexual violence.