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New Illinois Law Mandates Domestic Violence Training for Hairdressers

Because sometimes heroes put the capes on you.

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Starting in 2017, Illinois will require that all salon workers, including aestheticians, barbers, cosmetologists, hair braiders and nail technicians, complete a one-hour domestic violence training when applying for or renewing their license. This course will show them how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and how to respond when they believe something is wrong.

Illinois state Representative Fran Hurley said that cosmetologists are “in a position to see something that may or may not be right” because of their client relationships, which “last years or decades.” State Senator Bill Cunningham concurred, saying that his wife heard about many “terrible incidents” as a young hair stylist, but “was young at the time and did not know how to get them help.”

The law will not force stylists to report their concerns to the police, but the training will cover a variety of different ways to address any ongoing abuse. Advocacy group Chicago Says No More hopes that the law will help to decrease domestic violence in the state by “offering victims one more place they can turn for help, especially when many do not seek help from authorities.”

There is some opposition to the law from salon owners who worry that it will put undue pressure on employees who already have to perform a lot of emotional labor. Others argue that hairdressers have always borne their clients’ secrets, and this training will simply give them the tools to respond in the best way.

What do you think? Is law enforcement just passing off the responsibility for handling domestic violence victims with compassion? Or are there other professions where you would like to see this training offered?

(Via Jezebel, image via Shutterstock)

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