ll too often in child abuse cases, evidence only confirms that abuse has taken place — not who did it. A child’s ability to to name his abuser is crucial to convicting the perpetrator, but many children are too traumatized by the abuse to leave their home, much less face their abuser in court.
That’s where Bikers Against Child Abuse comes in. “We escort them to court, escort them to therapy, escort them to school,” says Bikerdad, a BACA security officer, in a Crime Watch Daily video posted in October 2015. “We’re there at two in the morning when they have a nightmare and they call us. We’ll [come over], park our bikes on the lawn and tell them ‘go back to sleep, we’ll make sure he doesn’t come back tonight.'”
BACA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victimized children by providing comfort, safety and support wherever it is needed. BACA funding — generally raised in the same community where it’s spent — also helps to defray the cost of the children’s therapy or confidence-building activities such as karate classes or cheerleading camp.
To become a member of BACA requires a long vetting process. After passing a federal fingerprint check, a prospective member must participate in BACA activities — monthly meetings, rides, court hearings and other events and training — for a minimum of one year before being presented for membership. When presented, only a unanimous vote admits the member. Ongoing training includes multiple workshops on childhood trauma, conducted by the licensed mental health professional that works with the individual BACA chapter.
Law enforcement officials often refer kids to BACA; non-law enforcement referrals are confirmed with authorities as known abuse cases before BACA will take them on. Once the case is accepted by BACA, however, that child has the backing of the entire chapter; as many as 40 leather-clad bikers have been known to crowd a courtroom in support of a young victim giving testimony. “The kids see that we’re badder than their demons and monsters are. They have us, they don’t need to be afraid. It works. It empowers them. It gives them the confidence to get up on the stand, look at that perpetrator, point at him and tell the judge ‘that’s the guy that did this to me,'” says Tombstone, president of the Los Angeles BACA chapter.
The members of BACA are passionate about their mission to provide victimized children with a safe way of learning to re-engage with their world. “[The kids] know any of us would take a bullet for them if we have to,” says Tiny, a BACA member. “I’m in this for life. For as long as I can ride, I’m in this.”
Watch how BACA members help victimized kids get comfort and self confidence during their testimonies.