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August 09 Edition Cover

Fester breaks the myth of the scary bikie

03 Jun 2010

Fester breaks the myth of the scary bikie Image

By Alison Kinkade

Docklands worker and local identity Fester is breaking down the stereotype of the bad-boy bikie by joining forces with other bikies to combat child abuse.

Working at the Digital Harbour public car park on Harbour Esplanade, Fester is a friendly and familiar face to many Docklands workers.

Last month he became a fully-fledged member of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).

Fester, whose real name is Vince, joined the organisation just over a year ago after deciding he wanted to join a bikie group that would make a positive difference.

“I was 52 and wanted to do something with my life,” he said.

Fester, who has been riding motorcycles for the last 10 years, said all BACA members started out as supporters for a year and needed to show their commitment to the group before becoming fully-fledged members.

“Supporters have to attend 80 per cent of rides and events over the 12 months to be seen by other groups,” he said.

The organisation, which began in America and opened its Melbourne chapter in 2005, was created in the hope of providing a safer environment for abused children by empowering them and lending them support.

“If we get a call to say a child needs our help then we have to stop whatever it is that we are doing and go and help them. We’re essentially on call 24 hours a day,” Fester said.

The warm-hearted bikie, who has three children, is currently working with the other seven members of the Melbourne chapter to become recognised by child welfare organisations.

“It’s hard for us to get into the system because we are bikies and we are a new group. But we are going to speak with the Department of Human Services soon to see if we can get their support. ”

According to Fester, the organisation must have the support of child-welfare organisations in order to function, as it is those services which must provide the link between BACA and the child.

“The Department of Human Services, for instance, will get into contact with the parents or caretaker of the child being abused and let them know what we do and introduce us and then we will go as a group to the child’s house and introduce ourselves.”

“We offer them gifts like a BACA vest and give them the contact numbers of two members who will be their mentors and we just let them know that we are there to help them and make them feel empowered.”

Every member who joins BACA must abide by strict rules and regulations including undergoing a police check, carry a working with children card and must never see a child on their own.

“We are not interested in the paedophile or abuser unless the system fails and then we will just let them know that we are around by might just be riding by their house,” he said. “But we do not under any circumstances condone violence. We will just make sure we are visible to them so they know to stay away from the child.”

BACA’s Australian head office is in South Australia and there is one chapter in WA, SA, Victoria and three chapters in NSW.

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Comments

  • george at 1:20pm on 04/06/10

    it's rubbish, bet they are affiliated with the Bandidos and sell drugs to your kids, intimidate people and just scum.
  • Cupcakes at 12:52pm on 05/06/10

    George you should get some info before you talk.

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