Tink Palmer, the founder and chief executive of Marie Collins Foundation, based in Masham, near Ripon, North Yorkshire, has been made MBE in the New Year Honours.
Professor Palmer said: “I am deeply honoured to have received this recognition and accept it on behalf of Marie Collins Foundation, the children and families we assist and our supporters.
“Crimes of child abuse using digital technologies are a growing scourge of societies across the world, yet we know that, given the right support, victims can go on to lead fulfilling lives.
“It is incumbent on those of us with the knowledge and skills to use them to help young victims and their families, and to train others around the world to do the same. We can try to deter some online activity; we won’t stop all crimes from happening but we can play a part in mitigating their effects as much as possible.”
After running a renowned national programme set up for victims of child abuse in Middlesbrough following the notorious Cleveland Inquiry, Professor Tink Palmer worked on her first referral from the police regarding the sexual abuse of children via the internet in 1998. Since then she has worked across the UK and the world to help build a better understanding among professionals about the impact of internet-based abuse on victims and their families.
With more than 40 years’ experience in social work with the last 25 specialising in child sexual abuse, Prof Palmer is a recognised consultant, advisor and trainer to government departments, police, social workers, health professionals, therapists, lawyers and the judiciary. In 2004 she co-authored an influential report, Just One Click!, commissioned by Barnardo’s. This was followed up with a second report, Digital Dangers, in 2015.
Although many organisations address how to identity abuse and its prevention, none had specifically targeted the needs of children harmed online and how victims and their families recover post-abuse. In 2011 Prof Palmer established Marie Collins Foundation, named after Marie Collins, herself a victim of child sexual abuse images in the 1960s.
The charity is now firmly established as the leading organisation of its kind, with Simon Bailey, Chief Constance of Norfolk and the National Policing Lead of Child Protection and Abuse Investigation on its board of trustees and chair of the charity’s annual London conference.
MCF was awarded funding from the global fund pledged at the international #WePROTECT Children Online summit hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in London in 2014. This has led to the establishment by Marie Collins Foundation of the Global Protection Online Network, which is bringing together best practice from the around the world to support harmed children.