The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that an incident in which one partner abuses another occurs once every 20 minutes in the US, which translates to more than 10 million incidents a year—and Illinois is hoping its hairdressers can now help those in peril, Yahoo Beauty reports. A law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August and set to go into effect Jan. 1 will require all licensed hairdressers in the state to be trained to recognize signs of domestic abuse and sexual assault via a one-hour class every two years, WQAD reports. That instruction will include ways to ID "tender spots on the scalp that are unexplainable or bruising along the hairline," an Illinois nonprofit supervisor tells Yahoo.
The Professional Beauty Association, which runs its own "Cut It Out" abuse awareness campaign, notes customers often confide in salon workers because they're "skilled and experienced listeners ... personally interested in those around them." Plus, for battered women, a salon is one of the few places she's likely to be alone, away from her abuser. "There's something about that salon technician or hairstylist that makes [customers] feel free to talk but not be judged," the CEO of the Safe Horizon victim services group tells CBS News. Hairdressers aren't required to report suspected abuse, but if they decide to, they'll be protected under the new law from lawsuits. (An Ohio woman sued her abusive husband and was awarded $21.5 million.)