HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - A new program for salon professionals that teaches stylists how to detect signs of abuse in their clients aims to break the cycle of domestic violence in Southern California.
Human Options, a nonprofit dedicated to tackling the weighty issue, recently began providing a 90-minute seminar called "Cut it Out" to salon workers.
Just two weeks ago, Gov. Jerry Brown approved AB 326, authorizing the state board of barbering and cosmetology to promote awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and elder abuse.
Even before the law was passed, the mother-daughter owners of Hair Concepts salon in Huntington Beach invited Human Options to speak at their business because of their personal experiences with domestic violence.
"Growing up with my dad, we had a lot of abuse," said Hair Concepts co-owner Karen Granados. "So to me, it's very important for people to just be aware and try to help out victims that are going through this as well."
It affects more people than anyone might think.
"One in three females and one in four males is going to be a victim of sexual violence or physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their life," said Jessica Reynaga of Human Options.
Victims are often reluctant to talk about the abuse with strangers, but experts say they may just open up to their hairdresser.
"What we're equipping salon professionals to do is to be able to provide the appropriate resources if they are in fact encountering it so that the client is then empowered to go and seek the services and support they need," said Reynaga.