Salon & Beauty Professionals Can Help Identify Domestic Violence

There are a number of sensitive issues that can arise when couples are having relationship issues and may be considering divorce. Most of the time, a couple’s private issues deserve to be kept private. But there are also instances that call for outside intervention.

Perhaps the most notable example is when one spouse becomes the victim of domestic violence. Sadly, victims who need help the most are often the least likely to ask for it and will sometimes go to great lengths to hide what is really going on. In light of this, victim advocates are trying new and creative ways to offer their services to those being abused by a spouse or partner.

One program that has been tried in different parts of the country since 2002 is referred to as the “Cut It Out” program. Hair stylists, makeup artists, skin care professionals and others who work in the salon/beauty industry volunteer to receive training on how to spot signs that their customers might be victims of domestic violence. They can then refer these customers (usually women) to domestic violence victim resources in the area.

Individuals who work in the salon/beauty industry tend to interact with their clients in uniquely personal ways. First of all, they are likely in close physical proximity to their clients, which allows them to notice subtle scars or bruises that could be indicative of domestic violence.

Moreover, hairstylists and others who work in the salon/beauty industry often develop close and trusting relationships with their regular customers. In addition to being better able to spot signs of domestic violence, they may be able to broach the subject with their clients in a way that doesn’t seem invasive or judgmental.

To be sure, domestic violence is an uncomfortable topic. Perhaps that’s one reason why even well-meaning individuals are hesitant to ask questions or offer help to suspected victims. But domestic violence is an issue that must be discussed if we ever hope to address it head on and help victims leave their abusers. Hopefully, efforts like the Cut It Out program are having an impact.

Source: USA Today, “Mass. stylists taught to spot domestic violence,” Denise Lavoie, Feb. 2, 2014

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