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National special achievement award for Marie Collins

October 23, 2018

Marie Collins, a founding trustee and patron of Marie Collins Foundation and a sexual abuse survivor, has been recognised with a national Woman of the Year Award in Ireland.

Marie was honoured with the Special Achievement Award at the 18th Irish Tatler Women of the Year Awards in a star-studded ceremony.

Marie was acknowledged for speaking out as an advocate for mental health and justice for survivors of sexual abuse, for better protection of children online and for fighting for truth and change within the Catholic Church.

The Twitter announcement by Irish Tatler of her award said: "Since Marie spoke of her own experience as a victim of sexual abuse, her voice has become the embodiment of many fighting to reform the Catholic Church.”

Her citation added: “Ms Collins’s commitment to truth-speaking and justice – despite much opposition and resistance – has made her one of the most prominent and resilient voices contributing to the change of the Church in Ireland.”

A victim herself of child sexual abuse perpetrated by a priest in the 1960s, Marie has spoken in many forums across the world to further understanding of the effects of sexual abuse on children.

She was a founding member of the Irish depression support group Aware in 1985, setting up their voluntary helpline which she ran for many years. 
She assisted the Archdiocese of Dublin in establishing its Child Protection Service in 2003 and was a founding Trustee of the Advocacy and Counselling support group for abuse survivors, One in Four (Ireland).

In 2009, Marie joined with Tink Palmer MBE to establish Marie Collins Foundation to support child victims of online sexual abuse and their families and to equip agencies and professionals with the knowledge and understanding they need to respond to children who have been abused via the internet and mobile technologies.
Marie said: “I was very surprised to win an award. I dedicated the award to all those survivors and others who work to improve the protection of children from abuse.”

The annual awards recognise Irish women for their work, achievements and tireless campaigning. 2018 was said to be an especially emotional and challenging year with “Irish women across the country stepping up, speaking out, supporting, creating and making significant changes”.

Other winners included Vodafone CEO Anne O’Leary, cervical check campaigner Vicky Phelan, Noeline Blackwell, the CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, and REPEAL campaigners.

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“It is comforting to see that the Marie Collins Foundation is trying to address the issues of children harmed online and enabling front line practitioners to conduct work with children that is based on relevant research. I will be a regular visitor to the website and will be advertising the charity in the workshops I facilitate.”

Social worker, MCF training attendee

Marie Collins Foundation Partners