December 21, 2023

‘See the signs’: Federal funds proposed for beauty professionals to receive domestic violence awareness training before being certified

Source: WKRN News


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – One in four – it’s a staggering number, but that is how many women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime. Advocates have pushed for federal laws to increase awareness of the issue for decades, and now they are celebrating a win.

It can be one of the most critical relationships women have. A stylist often hears about the good times and the bad.

“If there’s bruising or hair that’s been pulled or any of the other physical signs,” explained Susanne Post, a domestic violence survivor. “We have been in the position to see the signs and respond; the difference is that we haven’t necessarily had the resources available to know where to direct people.”

Tennessee is one of three states with laws already on the books, requiring licensed cosmetologists and barbers to undergo domestic violence awareness training. Arkansas and Illinois are the other two states with similar laws.

“I know that my story is not unique; my story is overlapped with so many people that both have worked behind the chair as I have worked with clients that have seen signs through the years, but maybe not have known how to respond,” said Post.

The idea is part of Shear Haven, an initiative born out of the YWCA in Nashville & Middle Tennessee, dedicated to training beauty professionals on the signs of abuse and how to respond.

“In Tennessee, unfortunately, we are always in the top 10 at the rate in which men kill women; it’s just the data. It’s the facts and so, therefore, the more education that we can put out there so that people can know the signs,” explained Sharon Roberson, president and CEO of the YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee.

The goal is to expand and encourage other states to implement similar laws.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced bipartisan legislation called the Salon Stories Act that would offer federal funds to states that require domestic violence awareness education for anyone becoming a cosmetologist or barber.

“We knew that domestic violence should be a non-partisan issue. We have people that come together who do not appear to agree on anything, but they will agree that women and girls deserve to be safe and they deserve to be safe in this city, in this state, in this nation,” said Roberson.

Recent statistics from the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Board of Cosmetology show that 42,000 licensees and 8,400 initial licensees have taken domestic violence awareness training since the law took effect, according to the YWCA.

A new Shear Haven website launched in July and includes the training video and extensive resources. To date, 110,000 professionals from more than 100 different countries have taken the Shear Haven training.

By:  Mye Owens