Hairstylists Trained to Spot Domestic Abuse

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If dogs can be trained to do police work, why shouldn’t hairstylists be enlisted to spot signs of domestic abuse and refer customers so they can get help? Today’s New York Times reports on programs that are teaching salon workers to recognize signs, such as bruises and burns, and advise clients of their options.

Hair salons have long doubled as confessionals, where women readily reveal intimacies they’d hesitate to disclose elsewhere. These programs seem like a creative way of offering assistance. My only concern is many of us have experienced hairstylists with a strong independent streak. We say, “Just a trim to snip off the dead ends,” and an instant later, our shoulder-length hair is gone and on the floor.

One colorist refused my request that he tone down the brassiness, telling me, “I do restaurant hair.” Responding to my look of confusion, he explained, “This color looks good in a dimly-lit restaurant.”

“I’m the age for early bird dinners,” I countered. “I should have a color that looks good in daylight.”

My hope is these programs are finding hair stylists who are better listeners and less diva-like than some I’ve encountered.


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