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Stylists to get training to help victims of abuse in Butler County

Training to help stylists recognize abuse and assist clients in getting help (WKRC)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - A relationship between a woman and her hairstylist is a special one and the Butler County Sheriff's Office wants to use those relationships to protect women from domestic violence.

While sitting in the chair at the salon, women share a lot. "People really confide in their hairdressers," said Kim McCaughey, who owns The Main Look salon. "They tell you a lot about their personal life, because you don't know who they're talking about."

Women know that what happens at the salon, stays at the salon. "It's like the HIPAA law, it doesn't go any farther," said Sheriff Richard Jones. "They know more about what's going on in the community than I do. And I'm not ashamed of that. That's a resource for all of us."

While some of those stories shared can be funny or heartwarming, Sara Flynn of the Butler County Victim Assistance Program said some can be a cry for help. "We had a lady from Michigan called, she endured seven years of domestic abuse and the only place she felt safe was sitting down with her hairdresser."

Now, a nationwide program coming to Butler County will train stylists on how to help their clients. The Ohio Attorney General's office partnered up with Cut It Out. We were trained by the Ohio Attorney General's office to speak with salon professionals and discuss with them the signs of abuse and how to approach that topic because that's such a sensitive topic.

First, people with the Butler County Victim Assistance Program go to salons to drop off pamphlets from the Cut It Out organization. They're small, easy to hide to from an abuser and can help start a difficult conversation. "As she was leaving, a salon professional ran out and, crying, thanking her so much for stopping by, that her niece was a recent victim of a sexual assault and they had no idea what resources were available to them and now our program is involved with that."

The Butler County Sheriff's Office will hold a seminar to train stylists on how to recognize abuse and guide their clients to report it. It's free and it counts toward a cosmetologist continuing education. Best of all, that knowledge can keep people across the Tri-State, safe. "We're excited that we're doing this for the first time. We're trying to save lives, and trying to save people, and it's an act of love."

That training starts October 30 at the Butler County Sheriff's Office.

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