Hairdressers and other salon pros are known for their close connections to clients—they’re often both service provider and friend. Nearly to a fault, salon professionals care about their clients. State legislatures are beginning to use this unique relationship to address domestic violence.
Although currently Illinois is the only state that requires salon professionals to take a one-hour domestic abuse course in order to renew their licenses, 14 states have similar laws in the works and all salon pros could benefit from the training. Cosmetologists Chicago (CC) had input into writing the Illinois law so that it protects hairdressers from liability, and then CC partnered with Chicago Says No More to develop a 60-minute Domestic Violence Awareness workshop so that salon pros could easily fulfill the new licensure requirement.
When CC offered the training in partnership during America’s Beauty Show 2017 (ABS), Healthy Hairdresser was there. The course was hosted by two Chicago Says No More representatives, who narrated a PowerPoint, presented a video and wrapped up the course with 10 minutes of audience questions.
According to U.S. findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey published in 2000:
According to the information provided at the workshop, 2 of every 3 incidents of sexual assault go unreported. That’s where salon professionals can help. This training encourages salon professionals to provide resources, such as posting a hotline number in your restroom and offering a list of local rape crisis and domestic violence agencies.
The training emphasizes that salon professionals are advised not to initiate any conversation about domestic abuse but, rather, to respond in a helpful way if the client introduces the topic. Even if you see physical evidence on a client, the most you should say is something like, “Everything okay with you?” That may encourage the client to open up or it may even trigger crying.
With a long-time client, watch for any behavioral changes over time. Understand that abuse can have patterns of increasing and decreasing. Observe any fearful demeanor in clients.
When someone opens up to you about domestic violence, you should:
What are you advised to say?
Do not call 911. That may not be safest route for the victim. Also do not:
It can take years and many starts and stops before someone leaves an abuser. Every person’s story is unique. Reasons people do not seek help include:
The video shown during the course was sponsored by Verizon and showed interviews of adults who, as children, had witnessed a parent’s abuse and/or grew up impacted by that abuse. It included the Illinois “call for hope” number: 877-863-6338.
Don’t forget to take care of you! Hearing a victim’s story can be emotionally draining. The workshop listed the ABCs of self-care: Awareness, Balance, Connection.