With New Law, Illinois Stylists Join The Fight Against Domestic Violence : The Two-Way The state law requires salon professionals to get abuse-prevention training during their licensing process. Lawmakers and stylists hope to use a unique relationship with clients to prevent abuse.
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With New Law, Illinois Stylists Join The Fight Against Domestic Violence

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With New Law, Illinois Stylists Join The Fight Against Domestic Violence

With New Law, Illinois Stylists Join The Fight Against Domestic Violence

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The relationship between a hairdresser and his or her clients can be an intimate one. Sometimes the conversation gets personal. And some stylists are used to seeing signs that their clients have been victims of abuse. There's a new law in Illinois that recognizes that unique relationship, and it now requires hairstylists and nail technicians to go through training about domestic violence as part of their licensing. Here's NPR's Maggie Penman.

MAGGIE PENMAN, BYLINE: It's a classic scene. You see it in movies and on TV, women chatting with their hairstylist, talking about their love lives or problems at work just like they're talking to an old friend. This new Illinois law wants to use those intimate relationships to get victims of domestic violence help.

JOAN ROWAN: It is an intimate relationship, and it's a wonderful relationship.

PENMAN: Joan Rowan has been a hairstylist for decades. She owns two salons - one in Oak Lawn, Ill., and the other on the South Side of Chicago. She says she started putting pamphlets in the salon bathrooms with information and resources like the numbers for domestic violence hotlines.

ROWAN: I've had women - you know, when you're washing their head, they have lumps on their head, or you know, they ran into a door again. I've been a hairdresser for 41 years. One in three women have violence in their lives.

PENMAN: She's citing a statistic used by many domestic violence advocacy groups, including one called Chicago Says No More. This is the group that's designing the one-hour training for stylists. Kristie Paskvan is the founder of that organization. She says she knows an hour-long training won't make anyone an expert or a therapist. The aim is just to educate the stylists and give them the tools to refer clients to resources that can help.

KRISTIE PASKVAN: There's something like 88,000 salon professionals that will be trained in the next two years. That's 88,000 more individuals that'll be able to have conversations with family and friends and clients, and that raises awareness.

PENMAN: Salon professionals won't be required to intervene or held liable if they don't. Lawmakers hope to just get a little more information out there, even if it's just over a manicure. Maggie Penman, NPR News, Washington.

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