CITY HALL — A City Council committee tentatively moved Monday to endorse a state program to give hairdressers training on how to counsel their clients on domestic abuse.
The Public Safety Committee passed a resolution calling for hearings on the issue, sparked by a partnership between Ohio's attorney general and the Professional Beauty Association Foundation earlier this year.
Kristie Paskvan, founder of Chicago Says No More, an advocacy group on domestic violence, testified it was not intended to get hair stylists to "intervene," but rather to train them to recognize abuse in their clients and potentially provide them with options.
"We certainly want to provide information," Paskvan said.
Committee members, both men and women, were receptive to the idea, and the resolution passed unanimously.
"Whatever we can do to improve that, we want to do that," said Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), a former Chicago Police officer.
"Oftentimes, salons are a place of comfort for women, as barber shops are for men," said Ald. Christopher Taliaferro (29th), likewise a former member of the Police Department.
Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) said she'd brought the issue up with her own hairdresser and received an enthusiastic response.
"They're highly opinionated," she added.
Ald. Matthew O'Shea (19th) called it "a very common-sense approach to a very serious problem."
According to Paskvan, it's still in the early stages, but the program would call for stylists to be trained on domestic violence. She said it could potentially be done online, and she called the distribution of informational fliers on domestic violence at beauty parlors "quite appropriate."
The resolution states that "one in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime," adding, "The Ohio board of cosmetology plans on training the board's 120,000 licensees on how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and the proper information to pass along."
The committee will now schedule hearings on whether such a program would make sense for Illinois or the city.
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