Relationships between staff and clients are unique from other typical business relationships, because stylists are usually a sympathetic ear to their loyal customers, privy to what’s going on in their personal lives. Clients trust stylists with more than just colour and cut decisions, and this can sometimes put stylists in a difficult position. What are you supposed to do if you suspect someone in your salon is a victim of domestic abuse?
In the US, the Professional Beauty Association started CUT IT OUT: Salons Against Domestic Abuse, which is dedicated to fighting domestic abuse in communities across the country by building awareness and training salon professionals to recognize warning signs and refer those in need to local resources. For more information on CUT IT OUT and how they’re helping communities, click here.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation hosts events and raises awareness for violence against women by building communities of strength and support. To get involved and find out more, click here.
Here are five safety tips for staff and clients to help protect everyone from domestic abuse:
1) Install a Panic button
Some security systems offer a Panic button, which you can press in the case of an emergency to alert police discreetly. You can install it behind the reception desk, safely out of view. If an abuser is in the salon and a situation escalates, police help will definitely be welcomed.
2) Make an emergency plan
If any incidence of violence happens in the salon, you and your team need to have an evacuation game plan in place. Having a meeting location in mind, knowing which exits are available is important.
3) Leave information and resources discreetly
Few clients will tell you their entire story top to bottom, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in help. By leaving informational cards or posters advertising help lines in discreet places, like in the bathroom, clients can take the information they need without broadcasting it to everyone in the salon.
4) Speak up
If you see physical signs of abuse like cuts and bruises, or sings of covering up cuts and bruises (like long sleeves in hot summer weather), it’s important to speak up. It doesn’t have to be confrontational, you could simply share where they can access information online or point them in the direction of a support group. It may feel uncomfortable, but you could be saving someone’s life: better to be safe than sorry.
5) Look out for yourself, too
It can be easy to get caught up in compassion trying to help someone in need, but you have to remember to keep yourself and your family safe, too. It may seem like a nice gesture, but do not bring a victim to your own home if it’s possible the abuser will come looking for them. This puts you both at risk. There are shelters and organizations in place to help women in transition, with people equipped to handle these situations.