As any barber or beauty professional knows, at times you feel more like a therapist than a beauty therapist. Clients are often inclined to open up to their hairdresser or barber about their personal lives, hardships and struggles. This means beauty professionals are in a unique position to help identify sufferers of domestic violence, and in turn, assist the victims.
This has led to an initiative encouraging barbers, hairstylists, and beauty professionals to become educated and aware of the signs of abuse, with education platforms that give them the tools to help their clients, and potentially save their lives.
As of January 1st, 2022, a new law has passed in the state of Tennessee—the homebase of this initiative, requiring all barbers and beauty professionals to undergo free training to help identify the signs of clients suffering from domestic abuse, and how to lead them to help.
Signs of domestic violence can range from learning about concerning details about their homelife from stories or worries expressed, to physical symptoms, such as bruising or sudden or unusual hair loss.
The law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, following a successful initiative first launched in 2017 by Nashville stylist — and survivor of abuse — Susanne Post. She worked with the YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, which runs the region’s largest women’s emergency shelter and has been engaged in anti-domestic violence education for more than four decades.
Legislation to require the course came to a head thanks to state lawmakers, commerce agency officials and the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners.
“Tennessee’s beauty professionals are caring, compassionate individuals who are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all their customers, but may not know how to respond when confronted with domestic violence,” said board executive director Roxana Gumucio in a statement made on July 27, when the bill was passed.
Back in 2017 Susanne Post co-founded an initiative started by the YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee, called Shear Haven. Now a proud partner with BARBICIDE, the company hosts training online for hair professionals to gain awareness, education, and tools for spotting and combatting domestic violence.
Beyond Tennessee, the initiative to educate hair and beauty professionals about the signs of domestic abuse is spreading globally. In the UK and Ireland, SalonEVO Columnist and Beauty Business Expert Liz McKeon is the ambassador for Shear Haven anti-domestic violence salon training, encouraging and spreading awareness and education of this helpful, and potentially lifesaving tool.
The Shear Haven online training consists of a 20-minute online session followed by a short quiz. After completion, each participant will receive a personalised certificate of achievement.
To date, more than 25,000 hair and beauty professionals from around the world have taken the training.