Watch above: A new group of bikers has rolled into town to help children who have been victims of abuse. Kent Morrison has their story.
EDMONTON — A group of bikers rolled into the Edmonton Law Courts Thursday morning, but it might not be for the reason you think.
The Urban Bulldogs Against Kid Abuse arrived at the courthouse, hoping their presence in the courtroom would provide comfort to a young girl during a hearing involving her alleged abuser.
“For children, that’s a really, really difficult thing to be able to stand in court and face your assailant when you’re eight, nine years old, teenager, it doesn’t matter. That’s a very difficult thing,” said Gordon Lentz, president of UBAKA’s Edmonton chapter.
The worldwide organization, which started in France, works with victims and their families in hopes of empowering youth. UBAKA members help young abuse victims with counselling and provide them with someone to talk to when they’re nervous, in hopes of letting them know they’re not alone and it’s not their fault.
“A lot of times when something like this happens to a child, the family has nowhere to turn, they don’t know which route to take,” Lentz explained. “We put them in touch with the proper authorities… and show them support.”
In late August, the Edmonton group travelled to Penticton, B.C. for a week-long trial involving a young boy. The group was invited by the victim’s family.
“They know that they are able to get up on that stand and they are able to say what’s going on in their lives, what has happened to them, and do it truthfully,” added Troye Goodrich, UBAKA road captain.
UBAKA’s Edmonton chapter started in the spring. Lentz and Goodrich both have children of their own and say while it’s often difficult to listen to the details of the court cases, they can’t imagine how hard it must be for the young victims.
“You go there and they’re scared, they’re frightened,” explained Lentz. “After you spend some time discussing it with them and we show up, their confidence builds up, they go into court and you can see it. They’re not afraid to stand up in court and face their abusers.”
UBAKA also works to help people recognize the signs of abuse in hopes of putting a stop to the violence.
“It’s got to stop. That’s why we’re here,” said Lentz.
“It has to stop somewhere. If you don’t step up and do something about it, it won’t.”
Thursday’s hearing in Edmonton was adjourned for two weeks. UBAKA says when the victim is back in court, the bikers will be there too.
UBAKA members must pass a criminal record check before joining.
With files from Kent Morrison, Global News.
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