Tennessee is the last state to make it a requirement for hairstylists to learn about domestic violence.
Suzanne Post, who owns a salon and is a survivor of domestic abuse, said that the relationship that beauty professionals have with their clients is very important. She worked with the local YWCA to bring the idea of such a requirement to the legislators. “We hear everything, and so being able to have resources that could save lives or help someone find the right counsellor or helper is so important.”
In Tennessee, a law that took effect on January 1 says that beauty professionals must get up to an hour of training on how to spot and respond to signs of domestic violence. The law doesn’t require you to report it.
They are “another set of eyes” who might be able to save someone’s life, said the man. “We know it’s a problem, and we’ve just looked at this as one way to deal with it and protect the person.”
The Tennessee initiative is the last in a long line of state laws that require cosmetologists to learn how to recognise signs of domestic abuse. Arkansas, Illinois, and Washington are the other states that have passed similar laws.
People who work for Futures Without Violence, a nonprofit group that tries to stop domestic and sexual violence. Kiersten Stewart, who works there, thinks it’s a good idea for them to work with barbers and stylists. “People who have been abused in the home usually first reach out to people they know. They’re far more likely to talk to a trusted friend or a member of the community or their family before they even think about going to police.”
More than 20,000 people call domestic violence hotlines each day, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which is a group that works to stop domestic violence.
It also happened when people were kept inside because of a pandemic. That’s what the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice says.
The NCCCJ looked at data from a number of cities and found that incidents rose 8.1% after lockdown orders were put in place in 2020.
In a separate report, the commission said there was a 9.7% rise in domestic violence calls in March and April of 2020.
A bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which is federal legislation meant to stop domestic violence, isn’t moving in the Senate right now. A group of senators said last month that they will introduce legislation in the next few weeks.