A group of Goulburn Valley bikers are acting as guardian angels for children in the region who have suffered abuse.ESTELLE GRIEPINK March 24, 2014 4:53am
A group of Goulburn Valley bikers are working with abused children to help them feel safe. Pictured are (road names) Fatt Matt, Gem, Big Mick, Gnome, Tic Tac, Digger and Turtle.
They may seem scary, hairy and clad in leather, but to some local child-abuse victims, these bikers are guardian angels.
Motorcyclists Advocating Child Empowerment’s central Victorian chapter is made up of nine Goulburn Valley bikers who quietly work with abused children to help them regain a sense of safety.
They have been known to pull up front of victims’ homes and lay out their swags to sleep out the front as protection from their abusers.
They accompany victims to police stations or court rooms to help them feel less intimidated when giving evidence against their abusers.
And if there is any word of bullying, the bikers offer to take the child to school on a back of one of their motorbikes.
The rumbling of the engine and the reassuring presence of an adult is usually enough to let other kids know the child is part of the MACE family.
The MACE members went by their road names when speaking to The News to protect the children they serve.
Group president ‘‘Digger’’, of Tatura, said the group formed one year ago with one priority — to empower abused children.
‘‘Our single, narrow focus is to remove the fear from those children who are the victims of abuse by taking the power from the abuser and giving it to the victim,’’ he said.
‘‘We want to make these kids feel like somebody gives a damn about them.’’
Digger said the kids the group mentored were not scared of the bikers’ tough exteriors.
‘‘They’re fascinated by the bikes and like the rumble,’’ he said.
‘‘They can hear us coming from a while away and usually when we get there they’re waiting out the front.’’
Digger said the bikers were there as friends and mentors to the victims, but they also made sure to link them with the appropriate services.
‘‘We can hook them into other community fields like Department of Human Services, headspace and Berry Street,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of families don’t know how to navigate the system — we have a helpline and an email people can contact.’’
Digger said there was no better feeling than seeing a child slowly transform from victim to survivor.
‘‘We get them strong again and get them back out into society where they can cope,’’ he said.
‘‘They can stand up for themselves again.’’
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