Lash-Ed Issue 3 October 2018 - Page 50

Behind the Mask

Hair and Beauty professionals against Domestic Abuse Campaign

Behind the Mask offers hair and beauty professionals’ free access to online learning resources to enable them to spot the signs that someone is experiencing domestic abuse. It offers expert advice on how they could respond in the best way.

Abuse may take one or more forms that could be psychological, physical, sexual, harassing, coercion or control.

It’s not easy to spot as abuse is not just physical and injuries may be masked by clothing or makeup. With some insight, our unique relationships with clients or colleagues may reveal what’s hidden behind their mask.

1 in 3 women will experience abuse in their lifetime with 2 killed each week on average [source: Women’s Aid]. They may be our clients, colleagues – even family and friends. A kind and sensitive word from a trusted professional who can signpost to professional support just might change or save a life. It’s not about intervening or interfering, but having the tools to signpost to those who are specially trained to help that’s informed, well-intentioned and meaningful.

Many women use beauticians and often disclose things that they haven’t told anyone else. In addition to our treatments, we often offer a safe and relaxing ‘space’ for clients and we often feel like ‘therapists’ in the counselling sense! Sadly, their time with us may be one of the few opportunities they have to be on their own where they can reach out for help or at least, be open to it.

Those experiencing it may not tell anyone for many reasons. As a regular client, you may notice when they’re not as chatty as usual or appear somewhat withdrawn or anxious. If they are ‘masking’ injuries, they may be more careful getting on or off the treatment chair or couch or may be overdressed for the weather. Some abusing behaviours may affect their appointments. You may notice that they simply ‘have to’ respond to text messages from their partner or they may comment that they’re in a hurry and need to get home and seem anxious about it. They may not show up for appointments or have to cancel them at short notice due. This may be due to injury or pressure through control or coercion. With experience, you can usually detect genuine sounding reasons for no shows and late cancellations from ones that seem dubious.

Earlier this year, asked professionals for their views on how we could make a scheme or programme really easy to implement. We have had an amazing number of responses with 97% saying that they would prefer a short online training programme with downloadable materials that they can use. They welcomed a certificate of participation in the scheme and a poster too.

I have since met with various bodies to help build the training materials. I am particularly grateful to Dr Alison Gregory from the University of Bristol for allowing us to use information informed by research with friends, relatives, neighbours and colleagues of domestic abuse survivors. In addition to my own research with survivors, personal experience and years in policing, the learning resources for Behind the Mask have been developed with these broad insights and professional knowledge.

The training materials will be free of charge on our website . They will be reviewed annually and participants in the scheme will be invited to refresh and update their knowledge every 2 years.

In developing this campaign, I asked many people for help as I thought that they were greatly placed to do so without too much impact on them. I had some

disappointing ‘knockbacks’

that truly surprised me but

conversely, other doors fell

wide open. I am exceptionally

grateful to Professional

Beauty for promoting the

survey to inform the scheme

and for offering a chance to

speak at their Professional

Beauty North event in

Manchester Central on the

21st October. This will truly

help to raise awareness and

I am so grateful to them.

Become a champion!

As a champion, you can get involved as much or as little as you can to 'champion' the cause - it all helps. It could be as simple as contacting colleagues in your area, raising awareness on how to get involved and it's benefits through Social Media or contacting your local community magazines, radio stations or newspaper and speak out!

I'm preparing a 'champions' pack with everything you would need. This includes a press release, social media images and answers to frequently asked questions.

Come and work with me and be part of something amazing!

Thank you , Julie Knight, Editor