Beauticians are stepping up to help with domestic abuse. In Illinois, an amendment to the Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding and Nail Technology Act of 1985–a law that governs the cosmetology industry–is now requiring salon workers to take one hour of training every two years to know the signs of domestic abuse and sexual assault. The training provides beauticians with knowledge and resources to help their clients. Without this training, cosmetologists, hair stylists, nail technicians and aestheticians will not be able to renew their licenses. Though the law does not require salon workers to act on their suspicions, it equips them to recognize the warning signs and pass along helpful information such as hotlines, safe houses, restraining orders and access to legal professionals.
Chicago Says No More is an organization designed to create awareness about domestic abuse. This organization initially fought for House Bill 4264, which amended the existing law and later were involved in drafting the language of the bill. Not only does the updated law specify the content of the trainings, it also removed a provision of the existing Barber, Cosmetology, Hair Braiding and Nail Technology Act of 1985 that held salon personnel civilly or criminally responsible for failing to report suspected abuse. Today, the main purpose of the bill is to ensure that salon personnel are more aware of the signs of domestic abuse and equip with the proper tools to pass along information.
The skills that will be taught to and developed by salon professionals will help in identifying potential signs of abuse, beyond noting the stereotypical black eye. Beauticians will be trained to note the deeper, more complex and emotional messages of potential victims. This does not mean that salon professionals now have the right to pry for information. In fact, prying is discouraged. Instead, training teaches salon workers how to recognize unsettling information that is offered freely.
Not only is there legislation to help equip beauticians in the fight against domestic violence, but a not-for-profit corporation in Indiana, Crisis Connection, is also helping arm beauticians in the fight against domestic violence. On Monday, June 19, Crisis Connection hosted a Facebook live “Cut It Out” training that all salon and beauty professionals were invited to. “Cut It Out” is a program of the Professional Beauty Association Foundation, and has seen success across the country. It has trained thousands of salon professionals and cosmetology students. The Facebook Live session taught viewers the cycle of violence, debunking myths surrounding unhealthy relationships, as well as how to recognize, respond and refer survivors to help.
Why beauticians? Beauty Professionals have the unique ability to be on the “front lines” in the battle against domestic violence because they bond and often form trusting relationships with their clients. While, for many women, domestic violence is often accompanied by financial abuse, victims are potentially still given some money to visit a salon. The salon serves as a safe place, outside of the home, where an objective and trusting person–a victim’s stylist–is available to be talked to and asked for help. The salon is a perfect place for victims of abuse to find refuge and obtain the tools and information needed to escape their situation, but this can only be accomplished if beauticians are properly trained and equipped to begin the uncomfortable, yet, necessary, conversation. With a support system of beauticians across the nation, an increase in the number of women and children saved from domestic violence is possible.
(June 2017). Hair-Raising Talk: Beauticians Empowered to Fight Domestic Abuse. Natural Awakenings. Retrieved from http://www.naturalawakeningsmag.com/Global-Briefs-Archive/Hair-Raising-Talk/
(2017). Crisis Connection to Host “Cut It Out” Salons Against Domestic Abuse. WJTS. Retrieved from http://wjts.tv/2017/05/crisis-connection-host-cut-salons-domestic-abuse/
Teller, S. E. (January 9, 2017). Cosmetologists Putting a Stop to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Legal Reader. Retrieved from http://www.legalreader.com/salon-employees-putting-stop-domestic-violence-sexual-assault/