A trustee of a North Yorkshire-based charity who was abused as a child by a priest has been appointed by the Pope to a new international commission aimed at protecting children.

Marie Collins is among three women and four men from across the world appointed to the Vatican Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Marie, who is from Ireland, is a trustee of the Marie Collins Foundation which was started in Ripon by Tink Palmer, an international expert in child protection with the aim of helping children who have been victims of child sexual abuse through the internet and technologies.

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Ms Collins said: “This is an unprecedented development within the Catholic Church and one which I welcome.

"All children, wherever they live and whatever their ethnicity, race and religious beliefs, have the same universal right to be protected.

"This is our opportunity to ensure that the Catholic Church is a safe organisation in which children can participate without fear of being harmed.”

Tink Palmer added: “Marie Collins’ appointment to the commission is excellent news. She is a woman who, having been sexually abused by a priest in childhood, has used her experience to campaign for the protection of children within the Catholic Church.

“Marie has a commitment to assisting the Catholic Church with this challenging exercise – she will bring wisdom, experience, knowledge and strength to the Commission together with a determination to ensure the Roman Catholic Church is a safe and empowering organisation for children.”