Hairdressing and beauty therapy students will learn how to spot the signs of domestic abuse in a groundbreaking pilot project at Ayrshire College.
The college is to host a series of workshops next month, led by charity Medics Against Violence, to teach students how to spot possible victims and give them the confidence to broach the issue.
Medics Against Violence already runs similar workshops for dentists, doctors and vets, and director Christine Goodall believes that hairdressing and beauty students are well placed to help victims. “They are not a health profession but they are a really good group to train,” she said.
“The hairdresser may be one of only a few places that women might get to go to by themselves. Many also build long-term relationships with their hairdresser.”
According to the charity, around 60,000 cases of domestic abuse were reported to Police Scotland in 2013-14 alone, and about one in four women are affected in their lifetime.
As well as advice on how to spot the signs of domestic abuse, the workshops will give the students guidance on how and where to approach possible victims. Students will also get advice on how to refer victims to other agencies.
Lily Greenan, chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, said it was important to stress that hairdressers and beauticians would not be expected to take action to solve situations themselves. “What they are being encouraged to do is to be willing to ask a question,” she said.
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