Outside the realm of education or child care, there are very few jobs in which it is considered socially and professionally acceptable for an individual to develop intimate personal relationships with his or her clients and customers. Of course, most jobs that involve interaction with the public involve some form of dialog between a worker and a customer, but the relationship between a hairdresser and his or her clients is one that can become very close over time. In many situations, the client becomes comfortable enough to share details about his or her life with a regular stylist—things that the client may not tell others. When such details involve allegations or hints of domestic abuse, hairdressers are frequently at a loss about how to help or what to say next. Thankfully, a new law in Illinois will give licensed beauty workers the tools they need to offer assistance to their clients who may have been the victims of domestic violence.
Joining the Fight
Last summer, the Illinois legislature passed a measure to amend the Illinois Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding, and Nail Technology Act of 1985 regarding training requirements for licensed workers in the beauty industry. The new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, requires all hairdressers, stylists, barbers, cosmetologists, and other licensed beauty professionals to undergo domestic violence awareness training before their licenses can be renewed. New licenses will not be issued until applicants complete the training as well.
According to State Senator Bill Cunningham, who introduced the legislation, the measure is part of the state’s ongoing efforts to curb the devastating impact that domestic violence has on victims and families. He said that licensed beauty workers will be trained to recognize signs and symptoms of potential domestic abuse and will be given information and resources to pass along to clients who need help.
No Mandated Reporting
Unlike other professions in which domestic violence awareness training is required, beauty workers are not considered mandated reporters. They will be under no legal obligation to take action if they suspect domestic violence or abuse. Senator Cunningham pointed out that it is important for stylists and others to realize that they are “not to intervene if their client is showing no signs that they want the hairdresser to intervene.”
Cunningham drew upon his wife’s experiences as a former hairdresser in the development and the promotion of the measure. He said that she would often hear difficult stories but did not have the tools to properly handle the situation. Going forward, nearly 90,000 licensed beauty workers in Illinois will be better equipped to offer assistance to their clients if and when the need arises.
Contact a Family Lawyer
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, seek help immediately. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney to discuss your options for protecting yourself and your children. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.