In salons throughout Illinois, hairdressers and stylists have heard it all. They are privy to some of the personal details of their clients’ lives. The intimate relationships they develop with their clients allows many stylists insider information about marriages that may be failing, sexual indiscretions, and other juicy gossip. Due to the nature of their jobs—and the close physical proximity to their clients’ bodies—beauty technicians are often among the first “outsiders” to suspect issues of domestic violence. In some cases, the client may even flat-out say it. Thanks to a new law, stylists and beauticians will soon have the training and tools to help those who have been victimized.
The new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, amended the existing statute regarding licensing for barbers, hairstylists, nail technicians, and other beauty professionals. To obtain or renew their state certification, individuals will be required to participate in an “awareness and education” program focused on preventing and identifying domestic abuse. The program was developed specifically for beauty professionals does not purport to make trainees experts on domestic violence. Instead, the program’s goals are to help stylists recognize the signs of domestic abuse and to provide resources to clients who ask for help.
Not Mandated Reporters
It is important to understand that hairdressers and stylists are not required to intervene if they suspect a client is being abused; nor are they required to report their observations. Unlike other professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and teachers who can be held liable for failing to take action, licensed beauty workers have no such obligations.
This was a mild point of contention as the law was being drafted, with salon owners concerned about liability issues—particularly in a field that is not one related to health or education. The final version of the law, however, is being received well throughout the industry, as the required training focuses on giving workers the ability to help without pushing them into uncomfortable—and possibly dangerous—situations.
Joining the Fight
There is no such thing as too much education when it comes preventing domestic violence. Over the next two years or so, the beauty industry expects to license or renew the license of nearly 90,000 stylists and technicians, adding that many more allies to the battle against domestic abuse.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence and have questions about the legal recourse available to you, contact a compassionate DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, confidential consultation at any one of our three convenient locations today.