Tough-looking bikers are key support for abused kids
BACA aims to help them feel safe, brave
The members of BACA may look like an intimidating bunch.
They ride big motorcycles and favor leather biker style vests. But that is where the group’s resemblance to some kind of motorcycle gang ends.
Far from being a motorcycle gang, BACA is one of the most unique organizations working to help abused children. BACA is the acronym for Bikers Against Child Abuse. The organization was started in 1995 by a licensed social worker and all of its members have had to pass background checks to join.
The group started in Utah and grew throughout the United States and the world. There are five chapters in Iowa, with the closest being in Storm Lake.
BACA members are paired with a child trapped in an abuse situation. They are on call for that child 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They work to help that child feel safe and brave enough to stand up to their abuser in court. BACA members accompany the children to court appearances. And if a credible threat against an abused child is made, BACA members will go to their home and stand guard.
Webster County Sheriff Luke Fleener has worked with BACA recently. He gives the group credit for providing support to the abuse victims so the deputies can concentrate on the investigation.
The support BACA members provide in the courtroom is significant, according to the sheriff. Sometimes, that support comes in unique ways. For example, Fleener recounted a time when a defendant kept turning around in the courtroom to stare at the victim and their family. To put an end to that, several BACA volunteers sat in front of the family. The next time the defendant turned around, he was staring at stern-faced BACA members, not a nervous family.
BACA may not operate like a typical social services agency helping abused children, but its members are making a difference in the lives of the kids they work with. In a world in which child abuse is too common, all kinds of organizations are needed to help put an end to it.