The announcement of a royal commission into the sexual explotation of children has been welcomed by Bikers United Against Child Abuse, a new group of motorcyclists committed to protecting young people from harm.By Fiona Broom
No child should live in fear.
That’s the creed of Bikers United Against Child Abuse, a newly-formed group of men and women with a commitment to motorcycles and protecting children from harm.
Following Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement a royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse would be held, the ‘‘keepers of the children’’ yesterday said victim support groups had been calling for an inquiry for years.
But they said any investigation into Australia’s endemic problems with child abuse was a good thing — as long as recommendations were followed and abusers charged.
President Peter White said the group formed in July as the north-central Victorian branch of what was becoming an international movement, but had essentially come to represent all of Victoria.
He said the original idea was to form a group to help young people, who he often came across on the streets with his Echuca security business.
But they soon signed on to Bikers United Against Child Abuse, founded in Australia in 2001.
Now there are 13 members across the north-east, with about another 50 people across Australia keen to sign on.
The group provides support to child victims, particularly in court when they are forced to face their perpetrators or in other intimidating or embarrassing situations, and raises awareness about the issue.
‘‘The perpetrators always have heaps of friends and family behind them because they think they’re being picked on,’’ Mr White said.
‘‘The families have got no-one and sometimes there’s not even family.’’
Member Warren Dempsey said at their first court hearing seven bikers went to support the victim.
He said their presence was queried three times by police.
‘‘We’re not a vigilante group, we’re there to support victims and bring awareness,’’ he said.
The bikers lamented what they saw as a rise in abuse in Australia.
They voiced concerns child abuse would become more common and more destructive.
‘‘Every time you pick up a paper these days it’s abuse, abuse, abuse,’’ Steve Bond said.
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