Heymann & Fletcher

Domestic violence survivors unusual ally: Hair stylists

Survivors of domestic violence here in New Jersey have numerous challenges to overcome. They often feel isolated and as though no one understands what they're going through, but abuse from a romantic partner is much more common than people realize. It is so prevalent than many people are working to find ways to identify people in need of help. One group that often sees signs of domestic violence before other people do are hair stylists. Many salons around the country are implementing training programs for their stylists to help them spot signs of abuse.

One stylist started training her staff two decades ago to recognize common signals that a client may be in an abusive relationship. She says that patrons would sometimes say offhanded comments like their spouse wanted them to have a certain length of hair. It wasn't just things they said either. She reports that sometimes patrons would come into the salon with bruises or patches of missing hair with no discernible medical reason. The stylist took matters into her own hands by ensuring her staff was trained to identify possible domestic violence.

Just two years ago, one state signed a law that all cosmetologists and salon workers needed one hour of training on recognizing domestic abuse. Other states have similar laws as well. One owner of a salon is especially appreciative of these efforts since she is a domestic violence survivor. She created a training program in her own city and hopes that more areas will adopt these kinds of measures to help improve their clients' lives.

Though getting out of an abusive relationship can seem like a momentous task, it is one worth undertaking. Domestic violence survivors here in New Jersey may want to work with an attorney who can assist them in filing a restraining order or taking other legal action. It is imperative that survivors know that there are places to turn to get the help they need.

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