When a little girl had to testify in a Colorado court against the person who abused her, more than a dozen people in leather jackets, chains, and motorcycle boots escorted her in. Several of them were present in the courtroom as she testified. On each supporters’ jacket was a patch: Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A).
“Our presence helped bring out her inner strength,” says Bard, member of B.A.C.A. and former agency liaison and events coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Chapter, who only goes by his road name. “Her testimony was strong, credible, and helped convict the perp. The fact that she was able to face her abuser will be an important factor in her recovery.”
B.A.C.A. is an organization of motorcyclists that exists to create a safer environment for children, and empower them to not feel afraid in the world in which they live. Members provide aid, comfort, safety, and support for children who have been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused. The organization is made up of more than 300 chapters serving 47 states and more than a dozen countries, as well as four chapters in Colorado.
Child Protective Services, therapists, clergy, and other organizations contact B.A.C.A. if they know of a child who could use B.A.C.A.’s support. “Once the guardian contacts our child liaison, we will schedule an initial visit with the family within a few days, and a visit from the whole chapter about a week after that,” explains Bard.
The visit from the whole chapter, called the Level 1 Intervention, is held at a location where the child feels safe—usually at the child’s house. The child is welcomed into the organization as family through a sort of ceremony, and is presented with a vest, patch, and road name of the child’s choice. Two B.A.C.A. members are assigned as the child’s Primaries, who are on call for the child 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the event the child feels unsafe or needs help.
The organization does not condone the use of violence or physical force, but “if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle,” says Bard.
If allowed by the judge, B.A.C.A. members will escort children to court when they must face their abusers. “The contact we’ve maintained in the weeks or months leading up to court empowers the child and helps them find the strength they need to testify,” says Bard. “Our presence at court just helps them maintain that empowerment. We intentionally ignore the perp and anyone affiliated with them; the only one that matters to us is the B.A.C.A. child.”
How Families Can Help
- Refer a child. If you are a representative of a Denver area child protective agency, law officer, or licensed mental health professional that is interested in learning more about developing a direct referral partnership with B.A.C.A. Rocky Mountain, contact the agency liaison via the website.
- Make a cash donation online, by mail, or in person. One hundred percent of your donation goes directly to help abused children.
- Learn what it takes to be a member or volunteer. B.A.C.A. cannot accept volunteers until they are fully vetted. This includes an FBI background investigation and a minimum of 60 days of training. Full membership in B.A.C.A. and assignment as a Primary for a child takes a minimum of a year of training.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Report child abuse and neglect in Colorado 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-844-CO-4-KIDS.