Compass Center for Women and Families, a nonprofit that provides domestic violence, self-sufficiency and youth health services, launched CUT IT OUT® beginning in July, a national curriculum that trains salon professionals in recognizing warning signs of domestic abuse.
Stylists at Mina’s Studio in Chapel Hill have already completed the free one-hour training.
“The Compass Center was gracious enough to come in and educate our stylists more about sort of how abusive relationships go, the difficulties of people getting out of abusive relationships and what we as stylists should and shouldn’t do when we think or know that we have a client in our chair that’s being abused,” said salon manager Heather Lynch.
Earlier this year Illinois passed a law requiring all salon professionals to receive training in domestic abuse-prevention as part of their licensing process because of how effective it can be.
Executive Director at Compass Center, Cordelia Heaney, says salons make great front line allies against domestic violence because of the safe space they provide.
“Stylists have a really unique relationship with clients where clients may feel safer disclosing to them concerns they have about the relationships they are in and about intimate partner violence they may be experiencing. Also stylists see clients regularly so we know that they might see signs that other people wouldn’t,” said Heaney.
The training reminds stylists to not be pushy, but instead offer help, be there to listen and educate on where to send abused clients and what information to provide.
“Participating salons are putting up a poster and putting information cards in their salon restrooms, so even if a client doesn’t want to disclose to a stylist or a stylist doesn’t first bring up the conversation, clients are in a private place in the restroom where they can see that information and access it,” said Heaney.
Once contacted, Compass Center can provide domestic violence victims with an anonymous 24-hour hotline, court advocates, support groups and help with protective services in both English and Spanish.
Salon professionals who participate in the training will earn one hour of continuing education credit towards their North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts license and a certificate of completion.
Nationally, 1 in 3 women have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, a statistic that Lynch was shocked to learn during training.
“We’re just sort of a stepping block- it may be the solution to the problem. We don’t have to fix it, but we can be there to offer a safe space and to help them find help if they are ready for it,” said Lynch.
Compass Center plans to train at least two salons every month in the next year.
For more information about CUT IT OUT® and Compass Center for Women and Families call 919-968-4610 or visit their website.