In 1998 the Chief Executive of the Marie Collins Foundation (MCF), Tink Palmer, received her first referral from the police regarding a group of children who had been made the subjects of child abuse images. At the time she was the Manager of a therapeutic unit offering services to children and their families for whom sexual abuse was an issue. This initial referral was the start of her growing recognition that the needs of children harmed online and their families require a differential professional response to that of the sexual abuse of children when the internet is not a conduit. Since that time Tink has worked in the UK and internationally to better understand the impacts of internet related abuse on the child victims and their families.
In 2009 the Marie Collins Foundation was created with the aim of developing an organisation that had the skills and experience 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. The initial two years of the Foundation’s existence was a pilot stage of the organisation in which the demand for such services was monitored. By 2011, it was clear that there was a dearth of understanding and professional expertise regarding the needs of this specific group of children and the decision was made to apply to the Charities Commission for charitable status.
On the 3rd June 2011, the MCF was registered as a private limited company by Companies House (company number 7657115) – and on the 19th October 2011 it was granted charitable status (charity registered number: 1144355).