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New Hair Expo Seminar Educates Hairdressers to Help Clients Experiencing Family Violence

The link between hairdressers and identifying domestic violence is surprising at first, but obvious the more you think about it. Hairdressers have always acted as psychologists to their clients, drawing out their stories and secrets, and they’re in close physical proximity to their clients as well. This connection has been utilised in many ways, with training in how to spot domestic violence signs compulsory as part of hairdressing education in some parts of the world, or championed in grassroots projects so that hairdressers can learn more.

Now this concept is coming to the epicentre of the industry, Hair Expo 2018, courtesy of Leanne Cutler of Siren Marketing. The Safe Hands seminar will present a panel to help hairdressers identify and assist with family violence.

“I was working with Natasha King in New Zealand and Zoe Wilde in Australia, and both had shot collections that centred on violence in the home,” Leanne said. “Natasha became an ambassador of the ‘Are You OK?’ Campaign in New Zealand and now trains hairdressers on how to help. Zoe is a passionate fundraiser for White Ribbon and is active in her community.”

“The clincher in deciding to hold this seminar was a chat with my own hairdresser at the time. I asked her if she had any experience with clients in family violence situations,” Leanne continued. “She said that she’d had a client who was only allowed visit the hairdresser by herself, nowhere else. The client would not leave her partner for fear he’d kill her and she was only out of his earshot while at the hairdresser. That’s when it came to me that we need the knowledge to be able to help more.”

The panel will also include Jenny Jackson, the Executive Director of the Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS), which has already begun a free family violence training for hairdressers in Melbourne’s East, titled HaiR-3R’s. She will speak about this initiative’s important in-salon training and the significance of EDVOS as a whole, which supported about 6000 women and children in 2016-17. Jenni Tarrant of Bond Hair Religion ACT, who is a qualified Lifeline counsellor and philanthropist, will also speak.

“The hairstylist/client relationship is quite intimate when considering the elements of touch, the time spent together and the conversation that can evolve,” Jenni shared. “It’s important that hairstylists are armed with information to refer clients who are experiencing domestic violence so they don’t take on a counselling role and the negative ramifications that can come with being untrained. To me it’s about helping the client while protecting the hairstylist. It’s about safety for everyone.”

“I don’t think hairdressers get nearly enough credit for their social contribution,” Leanne said. “Hairdressers really do have the power to put clients on the right track to a happier life. Seeing the bruises or learning of a client’s horrific situation is not an everyday occurrence but when it happens, being prepared to know how to respond and what to do next could change or even save a life.”

The seminar is not for profit and Hair Expo is kindly donating the venue and seminar spot, and as such it is free to attend, but advanced bookings via the Hair Expo website are essential. Donations are always appreciated and accepted on behalf of the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre.

It’s a truly important cause that can do more than make clients look and feel better – it can save lives. Let’s use our hairdressing super powers for good, find out the insider intel into how we can best utilise our talents and make these skills a cornerstone of our industry.

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