New Illinois Law Requires Domestic Violence Awareness Training for Hairdressers
It is a fairly common occurrence in salons and beauty shops across the country. A client—usually a woman—sits down to get her hair cut, colored, or styled by a person with whom she has developed a friendly relationship. They get to talking, and gradually, the client becomes comfortable enough to start sharing very personal details about her life—things she may not be willing to tell anyone else. Sometimes, these details are relatively harmless, such as a playful crush on a celebrity. In other cases, however, a client may share, directly or indirectly, that she has been the victim of domestic violence.
In the past, many stylists and beauty professionals may have felt ill-equipped to handle such situations. Thanks to a new law in Illinois, however, they will soon be able to offer help and resources to clients in need of protection.
A Big Step Forward
The new law took effect on January first and is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Under its terms, all licensed beauty workers, including hairdressers, barbers, stylists, braiders, cosmetologists, and nail technicians, must undergo domestic violence awareness training as a condition of renewing their license. New licenses will not be issued unless the candidate has received the training as well.
State Senator Bill Cunningham was one of the measure’s chief sponsors. He said that he was inspired to take action after hearing stories from his wife—a former hairdresser—about clients who would share such details with her. “She wasn’t sure what to tell her clients,” Senator Cunningham said.
Beauty Workers Are Not Mandated Reporters
The law was drafted to provide stylists and other beauty workers with the tools to recognize signs of domestic violence and to connect victims with resources. It does not ask them to become de facto therapists, nor does it mandate that they report indications of domestic violence. Industry officials expressed concern that making beauticians mandated reporters would have created additional liabilities but are pleased with the terms of the enacted measure.
There are nearly 90,000 licensed beauty workers in Illinois. Thanks to the new law, there will soon be that many new allies in the fight against domestic violence.
Have You Been a Victim?
If you have experienced domestic violence or abuse, it is important to seek help immediately. An experienced Geneva family lawyer can assist you in finding the resources you need to protect yourself and your children. Call 630-232-9700 and speak to a member of our team today.