Protestant church must do more against sexual abuse

The Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) must do more against sexual abuse in its churches, according to a project group that evaluated the church's current policy on sexual abuse. The project group recommends that the PKN gets a declaration of good conduct from the thousands of volunteers and professionals in the church, to show that they had not committed criminal conduct in the past, Trouw reports.

The PKN has done much to raise awareness and educate people about sexual abuse in churches over the past years, the project group said. For example, professional codes of conduct were implemented for pastors and religious workers, and guidelines were created for contact points for victims.

But there is still no reflection on the church itself, the project group concluded. The church must be a safe place, and to ensure that, all pastors, professionals and volunteers active in the PKN must have a certificate of good conduct. If you don't have such a certificate, you can't work in the church, the project group wants the starting point to be. They also recommend that churches appoint confidential counselors, preferably a duo of a man and a woman.

The national board of the PKN will discuss this proposal on Thursday.