Could we be trained to recognise the signs that clients or colleagues are experiencing domestic abuse and offer confidential signposting to support that could save lives?

Salon professionals are renowned for being skilled and experienced listeners who have a special interest in their clients. It’s no surprise that many women feel comfortable talking and even confiding in us about things that they would never tell anyone else. Reports and studies advise that:

~ 1 in 3 women will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime

~ Half of all murders of women are committed by their partner or ex-partner

Women’s Aid define domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour that includes sexual violence. Most cases are by a partner or ex-partner with a vast majority of cases being experienced by women, committed by men.

Julie Knight from Lash~Ed magazine is leading a campaign that invites UK hair and beauty professionals to work together to recognise the warning signs of abuse. We are well positioned to sensitively and safely refer clients or colleagues – even friends or family – to resources like Women’s Aid or other local support groups that are best placed to help them. It’s as simple as that and it could save someone’s life.

We know that a short training session will not make anyone an expert. It’s not about hair and beauty professionals intervening, but having the tools to respond in the best way. Sadly, we’ve often heard their stories or have suspected something from their demeanour. A degree of awareness training will give us an opportunity to help in an informed, sensitive and meaningful way to be able to signpost to professionals who are specially trained to help.

So why get involved? Most women see a hairdresser and many use the services of a beautician. Clients often return to the same hairdresser or therapist because of their great service and treatments. Often, a loyal and professional relationship is built. This puts us in a unique position to be able to spot the signs of abuse and offer help. It may be the only opportunity they have to be on their own in our safe space and reach out for help or be open to it.

There are hair and beauty salons already doing this in the UK and this is fantastic, but it’s somewhat isolated. I welcome your thoughts on whether hair and beauty professionals are interested in joining a simple UK wide programme and your views on making it really simple to set up and run as you’re already busy running your business.

Please spare up to 5 minutes completing a short survey that’s open until the 4th June.

If you have any queries or want to get more involved, contact Julie Knight at