Hairstylists provide more than just incredible haircuts for their clients, they often provide therapy as well — acting as the go-to counselors for the countless men and women who take a seat in their chair. It’s this close client-stylist relationship that has often made salons feel like a safe haven for many individuals. And, now a new Tennessee law about domestic violence training will be making this safe space concept a whole lot more official.
Under new legislation that went into effect on January 1, all licensed stylists and barbers in the state will now be required to complete up to one hour of mandatory domestic violence training, either in person or online — at no cost, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance. This new requirement will see that all 50,000 of the state’s licensed salon pros will have the resources to spot signs of domestic abuse, know how to respond appropriately, and how to offer domestic violence victims the help and support that they need. Stylists and barbers who are already practicing with a full license will have until 2024 to complete the training, which is currently being offered by Barbicide.
To be clear: salon workers will not be required to be mandatory domestic violence reporters under this new law. However, what this requirement will do is increase their potential to help victims of domestic violence and possibly save lives.
This is why the state’s Department of Commerce & Insurance worked so closely with state Rep. Sam Whitson and Sen. Becky Massey, YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, as well as the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners to create this new legislation, which first passed in the summer of 2021.
“Tennessee’s beauty professionals are caring, compassionate individuals who are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all their customers, but may not know how to respond when confronted with domestic violence,” said board executive director Roxana Gumucio, in a statement made on July 27, when the law first passed. “Most domestic violence victims will not report abuse to law enforcement, but they will tell someone with whom they have a long-standing relationship, such as a cosmetologist or barber. Tennessee beauty professionals have a unique position to help identify domestic violence and assist victims.”
At the moment, Tennessee ranks ninth in the nation in domestic violence homicides and due to increased isolations resulting from the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the state has seen almost 70,000 domestic violence cases this past year. This new Tennessee legislation comes as more states, including Arkansas, Illinois, and Washington, are enacting laws that require salons pros to complete a training on domestic violence. Hopefully, more states will take notice and work towards creating laws to help and support victims of domestic violence in not just our salon community, but our community at large.
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