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Salon professionals upskill to support clients

pencil Posted 30th July

Many hairdressers and salon professionals across the Hastings are now better equipped to recognise, respond and refer safely when clients share their experiences of domestic violence.

The Port Macquarie Hastings Domestic Violence Committee recently hosted a series of three educational breakfast events, titled “Conversations in the Chair”, in Laurieton, Wauchope and Port Macquarie.

The workshops were facilitated by Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services, Mid North Coast Community Legal Centre, NSW Police, Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services and Legal Aid.

Chair of the Domestic Violence Committee, Brooke Maggs, said 35 hairdressers and beauticians attended the events across the three communities.

“Salon professionals came along to learn how to recognise the signs a client may be experiencing domestic and family violence, build knowledge and confidence to respond safely, and help clients connect with support services,” Ms Maggs said.

“For many women experiencing domestic and family violence, those visits to the hairdresser or beauty salon seem to provide a safe place to share their experiences.

“Our aim is to provide salon professionals with the support, tools and contacts they need when and where those conversations are taking place.

“Participants told us they appreciated learning about the range of support services available locally for women experiencing domestic violence, including safety planning, legal and court support, and pathways to financial assistance and housing options.

“Some participants also said they were surprised to learn about the various forms of violence such as financial, psychological and technology-related abuse, which might not be as obvious as physical abuse.

“Attendees told us they are now more open to listen and look for the clues and feel more confident to suggest where clients can go for support.”

Shenade Benjamin from Hair Shenanigans said she had several clients share their experience of abuse in the past.

“Because we build a close relationship with our clients, sometimes over many years, there is a certain level of trust. I’m glad I now know what to say and where to suggest a client might go to access support if this conversation comes up again,” Ms Benjamin said.

A “Recognise, Respond and Refer Safely” card has been distributed to numerous salons across the three communities, listing local support services and contact numbers.

Conversations in the Chair was funded in part by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice Local Domestic and Family Violence Committee Grants program.

Photo Caption – Port Macquarie salon professionals come together to learn how to recognise, respond and refer safely when clients disclose domestic violence

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