Fighting sexual harassment

The global #Metoo campaign against sexual harassment stirred up discussion in Finland as well.

The Church has also reviewed its instructions and practices in intervening in cases of sexual harassment to ensure that they are adequate and up to date in all areas. Parishes are currently guided, for example, by an agreement aimed at preventing inappropriate behaviour.

More specific instructions are available in individual parish unions and parishes. Dioceses also offer support in intervening in cases of inappropriate behaviour if necessary, and raise the issue during bishops’ visitations and other occasions.

The Diocese of Porvoo issued more specific guidelines in 2014 and the Diocese of Porvoo in 2015.

Emeritus archbishop Kari Mäkinen states that the Church must have consistent and transparent procedures to follow in all its operations and must be open about harassment cases and intervene in such cases. According to Mäkinen, the procedures must be consistent throughout the Church and known to everyone in Church circles.

Mäkinen admits that, unfortunately, the Church is not free from harassment. “But we must have a policy of zero tolerance on harassment: even one case is too many. Campaigns against harassment are important wake-up calls for and in the Church,” he concludes.

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