US hairdressers in *genius* move to fight domestic violence 

Let’s do it here 

Sometimes a solution is so simple, you wonder why no one else has thought of it. Take a new Illinois law which will see hairdressers trained to spot signs of domestic violence.

It’s a law that makes perfect sense; after all, the relationship between a woman and her hairdresser is uniquely intimate. 

From this January, an amendment to Illinois’s Barber, Cosmetology, Hair Braiding and Nail Technology Act of 1985 will require salon workers to spend one hour of training every two years to recognise signs of abuse. Hairdressers will also be given resources to which they can refer clients for help, according to The New York Times

“I think it’s great,” says Domestic Violence NSW CEO Moo Baulch. “We all say things to our hairdressers that you wouldn’t say to anyone else.”

Although Baulch isn’t aware of any similar laws or programs involving hairdressers in Australia, she says “things are starting to move in that direction”. She  points to a checklist that’s now given to vets to help them differentiate between accidental pet injuries and abuse.

This is because there’s a strong chance that if a pet is being abused then there may be domestic violence in the home, too. (Studies have found that in up to 70 per cent of domestic violence cases, there is also pet violence.) Plus, vets often have access to people’s homes and properties and so can spot signs of violence.

Baluch says that some employers, like Commonwealth Bank, are also training their staff to spot signs of abuse, including financial abuse.

Which begs the question: if vets, hairdressers and bank staff can be educated on how to to spot domestic violence, why can’t we all? 

Imagine the impact on domestic violence rates if every manager in the country could spot the signs their employee was in a violent relationship – if management training included swotting up on the signs of abuse (which could involve frequent absences from work, ‘accidents’ during pregnancy), as well as learning how to fill out KPIs.

At a time when domestic violence rates are rising (up seven per cent this year), it’s time we all educated ourselves on how to help. 

Wondering if someone you know is a victim of domestic violence? Download the toolkit ‘It’s Time To Talk’ or contact 1800 RESPECT

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