South Coast hairdressers to receive domestic violence awareness training

SYMPATHETIC EAR: Kevin Crane, owner of Broken Glass salon at Port Kembla says it's important for hairdressers to create a safe space for women. Picture: Adam McLean
SYMPATHETIC EAR: Kevin Crane, owner of Broken Glass salon at Port Kembla says it's important for hairdressers to create a safe space for women. Picture: Adam McLean

Hairdressers often listen to the problems of clients and offer a sympathetic ear.

"Normally a client is with you for like three hours, so there's a lot of talking involved in that time," Kevin Crane, owner of Broken Glass salon at Port Kembla, near Wollongong, said.

"It's all about building trust with your clients, and it's very important to have a safe space for women - our clients are 80 per cent women."

It's not uncommon for people to disclose concerns about family violence to their hairdresser.

Therefore, a new program is aiming to educate hairdressers about what local domestic violence services are available, and how clients can go about seeking support as an additional means to assist people in abusive relationships.

On the NSW South Coast, hairdressers will be offered training about the warning signs and dynamics of domestic and family violence.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman and the staff from Scruples Hair Care in Nowra officially launched "Cut it Out" this week.

This is a training program for hairdressers to spot signs of domestic violence and help refer people to the right supports and services.

A series of workshops will take place later this year on the South Coast and in other regional towns, funded by Legal Aid NSW.

Hairdressers will hear directly from local domestic and family violence experts at the training workshops, to understand the types of support that can help those affected by domestic and family violence.

Sally Stevenson, general manager of the Illawarra Women's Health Centre, said they supported the "Cut it Out" program.

The centre launched a similar program, called "A Little Bird Told Me" in the Illawarra last year.

"We know that women disclose a lot of their abuse in spaces such as hairdressers, which are often female only and part of a self-care process," she said.

Mr Crane's business is involved in the "A Little Bird Told Me" program, including making available discreet cards and other promotional material for customers.

These provide information about the services available at the Illawarra Women's Health Centre and other agencies, who can assist women in domestic and family violence situations.

"If a client was to talk to us on a topic like domestic violence, you can say, 'I've got this for you, it might be able to point you in the right direction'," he said.

"Over the years I've had a lot of clients talk about these types of things, but years ago we didn't have this kind of thing that we could give to clients.

"So it's really great we now have something, because a lot of hairdressers, we are counsellors... We listen and give advice where we can, and to have something like this really helps."

For confidential advice, support and referrals related to domestic and family violence, contact:

  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • The NSW Domestic Violence Line (1800 656 463)
  • The Men's Referral Service (1300 766 491).
This story How hairdressers can help to stop domestic violence first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.