This year’s RCN congress will take place virtually, after the organisation’s Council members decided this was the best way to safeguard members, after allegations of serious sexual harassment came to light.
The RCN say that, as a matter of urgency, the organisation is undertaking a full review of all safeguarding policies and procedures as part of our cultural change.
According to the RCN, they take a zero tolerance approach to such allegations at all times. This decision is only one part of the RCN’s response and the organisation is committed to proactively addressing concerns wherever they arise.
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‘We have acted fast and took a unanimous decision that protects all attendees. We know that many members planning to attend were looking forward to seeing each other in person for the first time in two years,’ said Chair of RCN Council, Carol Popplestone.
‘But this decision was made with members’ safety at the top of our minds. That is what we are here to safeguard at all costs. I am absolutely determined that Congress will still be its usual fascinating mix of debates, events and speeches. Getting together virtually won’t stand in the way of that.’
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The event was due to take place as an in-person event in Liverpool from 18-20 September, with sessions also streamed virtually.
‘The recent announcement of RCN Congress moving to online only will have come as a shock to many members, particularly in light of “serious allegations of sexual harassment”. For many women, this issue will be potentially triggering also. For anyone struggling following the announcement, please talk to a trusted loved one if you feel able or get in touch with one of the helplines below. You are not alone,’ said the RCN Feminist Network, in a statement.
‘The Feminist Network stands in solidarity with council and the college in their decision to protect and safeguard members’ safety and wellbeing. We also stand in solidarity with any member who has come forward to bravely speak about their experiences – we believe you and we want to encourage any member who has a similar experience to report what has happened to them. It is not easy to make a report and we call upon the college to make this as safe and easy as possible for all victims.’