Aislinn Education and Support Centre for Survivors of Institutional Abuse, Dublin
After being selected Irish Volunteer of the Year, Christine Buckley was awarded the Trophee Europeen du Benevolat in the European Parliament in Strasbourg along with the title “European Volunteer of the Year” on International Volunteer Day 5th December.
Christine runs the Aislinn Centre for Survivors of Institutional Abuse. She deals with survivors on a one-to-one basis and is actively involved in referring them for further support services. She works round the clock and is always available to lend a listening ear to fellow survivors. Christine has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of victims of institutional abuse for more than 25 years. She spoke privately about her own experiences in 1984 and went public in 1992. Christine then held a series of meetings with Bertie Ahern and other government officials, culminating in An Taoiseach’s apology on behalf of the State to all victims of institutional abuse on 11th May 1999. It was followed by the establishment of a nationwide counselling service, a Commission of Inquiry into Institutional Abuse and the establishment of the Redress Board. Christine later outlined the difficulties that survivors were encountering in trying to access records to help them find their parents, siblings and extended families. Consequently in 2001, Barnardos set up the tracing service Origins. Christine has played a significant role in Irish society and has devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to this cause. Even through her own battle with cancer, she continued to be actively involved in the centre, often attached to her drip! Her courage has enabled thousands of people to feel free from the scarring of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse they were subjected to. Her work continues to change lives every day.
On winning the title “European Volunteer of the Year” in Strasbourg, Christine said:
“It is extremely encouraging that people from around Europe and indeed the world have shown such recognition for the healing work that the Aislinn Centre has provided to victims of institutional abuse, in terms of helping them to recover their identities, their sense of self worth and their families. I am delighted to be coming home with this prestigious award and I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Barnardos, the National Counselling service, the government, the public and volunteers and Volunteering Ireland who gave me a platform to highlight Irish Institutional abuse on an international stage.”