New Illinois law requires hairstylists to watch for domestic vio - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

New Illinois law requires hairstylists to watch for domestic violence

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There are currently 88,000 salon professionals in the state of Illinois.

Now, because of a new law that went into effect on January first, they'll be among those trained to spot victims of domestic abuse.

Having been a cosmetologist for 17 years salon owner Sara Meyers knows there's something special about the bond between a stylist and their clients. 

And, having been the victim of domestic abuse herself she's very aware of some of the signs. Although she realizes not everyone knows what to look for without proper training. 

The signs, Sara says are most noticeable is when she'll move their hair to start cutting she'll notice scratches or bruises on their neck. But, she says for those cases they just won't show up to their appointment. So the non-physical aspects are the most common. 

"They get quieter, sometimes they aren't as forthcoming. They're always covering for their significant other. They don't take care of themselves as well. They don't make decisions without their significant others permission," says, Sara Meyers, owner/cosmetologist at Mirror Mirror Salon.  

Knowing the signs is only the start. The required classes called "Listen. Support. Connect." will go a step further teaching stylists how to respond and how to direct clients to the help they need. 

However, they are not required to report anything. And for those stylists who don't feel comfortable handling such a heavy topic, the hope is they'll be able to turn to someone else for help. 

"Being able to notice it and notify someone else and maybe let them take care of it is just a huge small way that they can take that step," says, Marena Burdess, a hairdresser at Marvella Salon.

The curriculum still needs to be approved. When that happens classes will be offered state wide with the new requirements for license renewal taking effect in September 2019. 

Some salon professionals said they hadn't been notified of any specifics on how or when they could take these classes yet. 

Officials familiar with the bill say those details will be released later.

Meanwhile, the one hour awareness and training course will be paid for by the group "Chicago Says No More." A coalition of agencies serving victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

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