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Family violence, Part 2: an innovative program for aiding victims

Our immediately preceding blog post discussed the pernicious and enduring nature of domestic violence across the United States, including in Georgia.

We mentioned in that post a program aimed at curbing family violence that is now gaining significant momentum in another state. That initiative seems broadly relevant, and we present its contours here for our Georgia and other readers.

“Cut it Out” was first started in Alabama, fostered by the insight that many women have strong and lasting relationships with beauticians that are generally marked by amicability and candor.

That insight led to this thought and, ultimately, a formal training program that is now gaining traction far beyond Alabama: Stylists, manicurists and other beauty professionals might be uniquely placed to notice domestic violence symptoms, encourage victims to open up about their challenges and point battered and otherwise harmed persons to sources of help, like shelters, police officers and attorneys.

In Connecticut, the program has blossomed. First begun there in vocational schools in 2009, formal training on how to spot abuse, start a dialogue and make relevant referrals has now been completed by more than 900 persons across the state.

The belief that salon professionals are especially well-placed to recognize abuse symptoms and encourage victims to speak up seems quite rational and is supported by some of those professionals themselves.

“I do know how to approach someone without them feeling like they’re being judged,” says one massage therapist.

“[T]hey know that I care,” says a beauty salon owner, who states that many of her clients “would tell me what is going on in their lives” if she encouraged them to do so.

Source: USA TODAY, "Mass. stylists taught to spot domestic violence," Denise Lavoie, Feb. 2, 2014

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