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Hairdressers in Norwich will be trained to spot signs of domestic abuse

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:40 08 March 2017

Rachel Buck, owner of Beau Hair and Beauty, who is to make sure that her hairdressers are trained to be aware of possible domestic abuse when chatting to their clients. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rachel Buck, owner of Beau Hair and Beauty, who is to make sure that her hairdressers are trained to be aware of possible domestic abuse when chatting to their clients. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

It is a place where people often share their intimate secrets, life problems and milestones.

Domestic abuse statistics. Photo: Archant Graphics UnitDomestic abuse statistics. Photo: Archant Graphics Unit

But sitting in the hairdressers’ chair could also soon be a safe haven from domestic violence, as stylists in Norwich undergo training to help them spot the signs of abuse.

Rachel Buck, who owns Beau Hair and Beauty in Queens Road, said she was struck with the idea after a law was passed in Illinois, USA, last year.

Legislators aimed to take advantage of the close relationship between hairdressers and clients, and it means they undertake training to pick up on signs of domestic abuse, and offer support.

Mrs Buck, 30, said: “I used to work for the domestic abuse charity Leeway so I’m passionate about the work they do, and it came to my attention the need for hairdressers to be aware of and provide a safe place for people to confide in them.

“With all the news around domestic abuse its in the front of everyone’s minds.”

In January, Leeway revealed the number of service users they helped had jumped by 20pc since December 2015.

And Norfolk police take an average of 55 calls every day relating to domestic abuse.

Mother-of-two Mrs Buck said: “When people are in the chair it’s for quite a long time. It becomes quite an intimate relationship between a stylist and a client, so they tend to talk about their personal life.”

She said because of social media, many of the hairdressers also became friends with clients, which could benefit someone in an abusive relationship who had been cut off from their support network.

“Even at a doctors surgery someone might not be able to be alone, away from their abuser. But here it’s just the hairdresser and client, there’s no one hanging around listening.”

Mrs Buck, who lives in Thorpe St Andrew, said her hairdressers would now have training with Leeway to pick up on signs of domestic abuse, and to know where to signpost people to.

She said signs often included wearing the wrong clothing - such as a woolly jumper when it’s hot to cover bruises - or consistently missing appointments.

“Anything we can do to support people, even if we just help one person, is brilliant,” she added.

Leeway CEO, Mandy Proctor, added: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Beau Hair and Beauty and to provide them with the training and ongoing support required to ensure they can deal sensitively and effectively to any disclosures made by their clients.

“We encourage all businesses in every sector to have at least two staff members trained to identify signs of domestic abuse in their colleagues and know how to provide the necessary support.”

The salon has also committed to fundraising for Leeway, with a raffle planned for their 9th birthday in April as well as other fundriaisng events throughout the year.

A Norfolk police spokesperson said: “Norfolk Constabulary works with key partners to raise awareness of Domestic Abuse and this includes training professionals and students across a wide range of disciplines, including Hairdressers and Beauticians, so that they can identify the signs of domestic abuse and provide support to victims. Anything that helps signpost and further support victims of domestic abuse is welcomed by Norfolk Constabulary. Police forces alone cannot safeguard those at risk and it is encouraging that local businesses are also working with local partners towards recognising those in our community who are vulnerable.”

• For free, confidential support call Leeway, 24 hours a day, on 0300 561 0077 or email referrals@leewaynwa.org.uk. If you are in immediate danger, call 999.


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