HAIR TO HELP – Hair and beauty salons to help stop domestic abuse under vital new Women’s Aid initiative

The Irish Sun (Web), 15/11/2021, Danielle Masterson

WOMEN’S Aid and beauty salons around the country are teaming up to put a stop to domestic abuse. Today the Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation (HABIC) and Women’s Aid are providing domestic abuse resources to 2,500 Irish beauty salons to assist workers recognise the signs of abuse and help them help victims.

EU research has found that one in four women have received some form of abuse by a current or former partner. The salon sometimes becomes a safe and reliable place to escape domestic abuse. Many women also tend to open up and confide in others when sitting in the salon chair.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid said: “Hair and beauty businesses in local communities across the country can play a crucial role in raising awareness among those who may need support, including staff and clients.

“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. We hope that women accessing these local spaces, who are experiencing abuse, will call the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline for information, support and referral to local domestic violence services when needed.”

Last year Women’s Aid’s frontline services received 29,717 domestic abuse disclosures with 24,893 cases linked to coercive control.

HABIC member salons will be given packs to support and educate workers and clients, including posters highlighting the 10 common signs of domestic abuse. QR code stickers will also be placed on salon mirrors, directing clients to the 24hr National Freephone Helpline and the Women’s Aid website.

Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, CEO of HABIC said: “The relationship between clients and HABIC hairdressers and beauticians is one that is developed over time and is built on trust.

“From engagement with Women’s Aid , we understand that salon’s maybe the only safe space for some women, away from abusive behavior. Over the coming period, we will focus on supporting our members and to give staff confidence and resources to know how to respond when someone does confide in them.
With a largely female workforce, we also want to ensure our members feel supported at work and can access the necessary supports if they need to.”

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