Proposed bill would require cosmetic professionals to take domestic violence course

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — At the Salon Professional Academy in Tonawanda, students learn how to cut hair and they also learn skills that could potentially save lives.

“Well you’re developing a relationship if you’re letting someone get that close to you and changing your appearance, cutting your hair, coloring your hair, you’re developing a trust with that person,” said Cathy Ulrich, The Salon Professional Academy Director.

All students at the Academy are required to go through training to learn how to spot signs of domestic violence. Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a bill that would make it the law for cosmetic professionals across the state to do the same.

“We’ve had Family Justice Center come in we’ve also worked with the YWCA and the State Troopers have come in to deliver presentations on what to look for,” said Ulrich.

The proposed law wouldn’t force stylists to report domestic violence, but it would teach them how to identify signs of abuse and how to connect them to help.

The Family Justice Center has already been training local stylists for years through a program called “Cut It Out.”

“We go in we teach them the warning signs, the big red flags, and then the critical piece what to say and what not to say,” said Mary Murphy, Family Justice Center Executive Director.

A local survivor says this law could make a huge difference, because of the comforting environment at salons. She says it encourages women to open up.

“For me I think the reason I stayed in a relationship for 10 years that involved domestic violence was because I wasn’t able to have that frank conversation with somebody,” said Peg Simons of Kenmore.

“It’s all about letting them know that they’re not alone and if they want help that there is help out there,” said Ulrich.

If the law is passed, it would require cosmetic workers to complete an hour long course when they renew their license. The bill does not say who would pay for the course.

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