Newstalk (Web), 15/11/2021, Jack Quann
Over 2,500 hair and beauty salons across the country will begin providing resources on domestic abuse this week.
Women’s Aid and the Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation (HABIC) aims to build a greater understanding and knowledge of domestic violence and abuse among hair and beauty professionals.
It also wants to create awareness with salon customers and employees on the prevalence and nature of domestic abuse, and supports that are available.
One in four women in Ireland in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner, according to EU research.
From this week, HABIC member salons will receive packs containing materials to support and educate teams and clients.
This will include posters outlining 10 common signs of domestic abuse.
There will also be stickers on mirrors containing QR codes, that will direct customers to the 24-hour National Freephone Helpline and Women’s Aid website.
The partnership wants to educate staff about how to recognise the signs of abuse, how to respond in a supportive way and how to signpost customers to Women’s Aid.
Manager at the Women’s Aid helpline, Linda Smith, told Newstalk Breakfast it’s an important initiative.
“It’s based on a really trusted relationship between the client and the professional, and it’s a relationship that’s built over time.
“So it’s quite likely that, when you’re feeling comfortable, you might disclose that you are in an abusive relationship.
“And I think it’s important then – in terms of the response – that the client will get an appropriate response.
“So Women’s Aid have stepped in to support HABIC with those responses, and sign post them for the clients who do disclosure.
“It’s really important that women who do disclose that they’re aware that they’re aren’t on their own in this situation, and support is always there for them”.
Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid, says: “When someone discloses that they are experiencing abuse, it can be difficult to know what to do.
“Quite often people are afraid to say the wrong thing.
“Our campaign provides helpful resources on recognising abuse and how to respond in a supportive way.
“We know that with the right information salon staff can make a difference in someone’s journey to safety.”
In 2020, 29,717 contacts were made with Women’s Aid frontline services – during which 24,893 disclosures of domestic abuse against women were made.
Workers also heard 5,948 disclosures of abuse against children.
Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact the Women’s Aid 24-hour National Freephone Helpline on 1800-341-900 or www.womensaid.ie