I came across the following story by accident whilst looking on the net for something quite unrelated . . .
These tough bikers have a soft spot: aiding child-abuse victims. Anytime, anywhere, for as long as it takes the child to feel safe, these leather-clad guardians will stand tall and strong against the dark, and the fear, and those who seek to harm.
The girl chewing on her lip was abused by a relative, according to police reports – someone she should have been able to trust. He’s not in the state any longer, but the criminal case is progressing slowly, so he’s not in jail, either. He still terrorizes her at night, even though he’s nowhere near. She wakes, heart pounding. The nightmare feels real again. She never feels safe, even with her parents just downstairs. The unruly-looking mob in her driveway is there to help her feel safe again. They are members of the Arizona chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse International, and they wear their motto on their black leather vests and T-shirts: “No child deserves to live in fear.”
What Rembrandt knows is that a biker’s power and intimidating image can even the playing field for a little kid who has been hurt. If the man who hurt this little girl calls or drives by, or even if she is just scared, another nightmare, the bikers will ride over and stand guard all night. If she is afraid to go to school, they will take her and watch until she’s safely inside. And if she has to testify against her abuser in court, they will go, too, walking with her to the witness stand and taking over the first row of seats. Pipes will tell her, “Look at us, not him.” And when she’s done, they will circle her again and walk her out.
After all the bikers introduce themselves, Pipes holds up a small vest covered in patches, just like the bikers’ but made of denim instead of leather. On one patch is the girl’s new road name: Rhythm, for a girl who dances and plays music.
The bikers are all volunteers, giving five, 10, 20 or more hours a week. There’s no reimbursement for gas or the time they take off work. The bikers must be tough, not only to protect the kids but to be able to stomach knowing what their young charges may have been through. An 8-year-old beaten by Mom; a 6-year-old molested by his mother’s boyfriend. A girl, 10, raped. They are trained by a licensed mental-health professional affiliated with the chapter. Each biker must be fingerprinted and undergo a thorough criminal-background check, the same one required for state child-welfare workers and law-enforcement officers, before they can join the group. They are bikers, not Boy Scouts, so if the background check turns up an arrest or a stint behind bars, they can still be in the group. The crime just can’t involve children, domestic violence or something comparable. They visit children only with permission and only in pairs, so no one is ever alone with a child.
The bikers aren’t looking for trouble. They are there so the kids don’t feel so alone, or so powerless. Pipes recalls going to court with an 8-year-old boy, and how tiny he looked on the witness stand, his feet dangling a foot off the floor. “It’s scary enough for an adult to go to court,” he says. “We’re not going to let one of our little wounded kids go alone.” In court that day, the judge asked the boy, “Are you afraid?” No, the boy said. Pipes says the judge seemed surprised, and asked, “Why not?” The boy glanced at Pipes and the other bikers sitting in the front row, two more standing on each side of the courtroom door, and told the judge, “Because my friends are scarier than he is.”
There is an Australian division of Bikers Against Child Abuse International. It has its website at:
and there are chapters in various locations in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
The following is from that website:
BACA Mission Statement
Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organisation. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.
How BACA Works
Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) is organized with a central contact person to receive calls from referring agencies and individuals. A recognised, authorised agency with which the child has had contact determines that the child is still frightened by his or her environment. The agency representative contacts BACA, or refers the individual to contact BACA and the name and address of the child is given to our BACA/Child Liaison. The Liaison determines that the case is legitimate, meaning that the authorities have been contacted, and the case in being processed within the system. The Liaison contacts the family and an initial ride is organized to meet the child at their home or in some other location. The entire BACA chapter rides to meet the child and he/she is given a vest with a BACA patch sewn on the back. The child is free to wear the vest or not, and we support their decision. The child is also given bumper stickers, and other gifts that are generally donated by the public. These initial visits generally last about a half an hour.
Following this initial contact, the child is given the name and number of two BACA members residing geographically closest to them, who then become the childs primary contact person(s). Prior to becoming the primary contacts for the child, the bikers are cleared for participation by clearing an extensive background check, have ridden with the Chapter for at least a year, and have received special instructions from the Licensed Mental Health Professional. Anytime the child feels scared and feels the need for the presence of his new BACA family, the child may call upon these bikers to go to the child’s house and provide the necessary reassurance to feel safe and protected. BACA members and supporters also support the children by: providing escorts for them if they feel scared in their neighbourhoods; riding by their homes on a regular basis; supporting the children at court and parole hearings; attending their interviews, and; staying with the children if they are alone and frightened. The BACA members never go to the child’s house alone and never without the knowledge or permission of the parents. Our mission is not to be permanently engaged as the child’s power. Our mission is to help the children and their families learn how powerful they can be. Our presence will be available as long as the child needs us. BACA also holds other functions for the children such as Bar-B-Ques, and parties.
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