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New law requires domestic abuse course for Tennessee hairstylists

Those that take the training will be briefed on how to respond and what resources to offer victims.
(WEAU)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 2:50 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2021 at 10:50 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A new law will soon require barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists in Tennessee to take a course on identifying and reporting signs of domestic abuse. The law is similar to one passed in Illinois in 2017.

According to a release from the state’s website, beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, Tennessee beauty professionals will be required to take up to an hour of online or in-person training on domestic abuse. Professionals will have until 2024 to complete the training, the release stated.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance and the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners are playing roles in launching the initiative, which will affect over 50,000 workers.

“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. “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.”

Courtney Cunningham, a stylist at Alchemy Salon in Knoxville, says she and other hairstylists at the salon have already taken this type of course. Cunningham says it’s a crucial need that can help save lives.

“Sometimes there is a very small window of time when they are actually separated from that person. I like to think that salons are considered a safe place and that if something is going on that they might trust that it’s fine for them for that hour or two,” shared Cunningham.

Those that take the training will be briefed on how to respond and what resources to offer victims.

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