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They might tell their hair stylists

Domestic violence is a delicate subject. Many women in Illinois, and a few men, who are its victims, have a difficult time admitting that it happens. They are often extremely conflicted, and when confronted by law enforcement, may become quite defensive. They may defend their abuser and deny the existence of any domestic violence, even though they bear the bruises and scars of that abuse.

Finding someone who is sufficiently non-threatening to them, and whom they trust, to raise the topic and give them information on how they can obtain help, can be a significant problem. In Massachusetts, a program known as "Cut it Out," has been used to provide training for beauty professionals that is designed to help them help their clients when they see signs of domestic violence.

Hairstylists and other salon professional share an intimate relationship with their clients. They have close, physical contact with their client's hair, skin and face in a way few others would be permitted and because women often return to the same stylist for years, they have long-term relations that include sharing the intimate details of their personal relationships and lives.

They also have the advantage of being able to observe bruises, cuts or scars, missing hair and other physical evidence of abuse. The training then allows them to offer advice and help in a fashion that can come across as less threatening and judgmental for the battered women.

For a woman who experiences this violence, whether married, involved in a divorce, or single, finding help is important, especially if there are children present in the relationship. 

Source: USA Today, "Mass. stylists taught to spot domestic violence," Denise Lavoie, February 2, 2014

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