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Massachusetts bill would help hair stylists spot abuse

Many women confide more in their hair stylists than they do in their own friends and family. That's why one Massachusetts state representative has introduced a bill that would provide salon professionals with training to help them spot signs that a client is being abused and put them in touch with sources of support and protection.

State Rep. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen has seen several high-profile domestic violence cases in her area over the past few years -- at least two of them fatal. Her proposed legislation is modeled after a law that recently was implemented in Illinois.

In addition to the close relationship that beauty professionals often have with their clients, DiZoglio notes that hair stylists are often in a position to see bruises and other injuries around a woman's neck and head that they can hide from others because often "abusers will strike their victims where most people can't see the signs."

The bill has gained praise from advocates for victims of domestic violence. One official with the YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts says, "Providing professionals with the language, strategy and resources that they may use to support their consumer who may be experiencing domestic violence can truly save a life and will make a difference."

If the bill becomes law, however, salon professionals would not be mandated to report signs of abuse as those in some other professions are.

One domestic violence specialist notes, "Victims of domestic violence are often afraid of reporting the crime to law enforcement, and validation from a trusted source like a hairdresser may be the push they need to get help."

Often, reaching out for help is the most difficult part of getting out of an abusive situation. A Massachusetts attorney can help you get a restraining order, seek other protective measures for yourself and your children and also to take the steps necessary to see that your abuser faces justice.

Source: Eagle Tribune, "DiZoglio bill would train beauty professionals to spot signs of abuse," Lisa Kashinsky, July 27, 2017

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