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State helps hairdressers tackle domestic abuse

Words by Smiley Team

A stereotype of barber shops and salons is that the barber or beautician serves as a pseudo-therapist. Similar to bartenders, they often serve as people you share your goings-on in life. 

It's with that in mind that the Tennessee government pushed a law that would use that unique position to help identify potential victims of domestic violence.

Nonprofit YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee created the Shear Haven Domestic Violence Training with volunteer Susanne Post. Susanne is a survivor of domestic violence, as well as a licensed cosmetologist and salon owner in Nashville, TN.

In 2017, she and the YWCA teamed up to create a training program for local salon owners and stylists. "They are committed to educating the community and helping all victims of domestic abuse through Shear Haven," a statement reads.

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The goal of the law is to expand those who can serve a helping hand in abusive situations, which were highlighted by the isolation of Covid lockdowns. 

“The pandemic showed that not everyone is safer at home,” said State Rep. Sam Whitson. “I'm proud to have sponsored this legislation and equally proud of the vast majority of my colleagues for recognizing the crisis of domestic violence and acting to make positive change in our laws.

"While we had to wait a full year before we could get this measure passed, we have a much better and stronger law because of the pandemic.”

No cost to hairdressers

The bill became law at the beginning of the year and all training was done at no cost to hairdressers, as it was sponsored by companies like Barbicide.

“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 the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners Executive Director Roxana Gumucio.

“Most domestic violence victims will not report abuse to law enforcement, but they will tell someone with whom they have a long-standing relationship, such as a cosmetologist or barber. Tennessee beauty professionals have a unique position to help identify domestic violence and assist victims.” 

Inspired to act?

DONATE: One of the largest non-profits addressing domestic violence is the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

SUPPORT: Consider donating your time and maybe make donations to women’s shelters to help some affected by domestic abuse.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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