Domestic violence detection program launched in NH For more information, contact the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence at (693) 224-8893.

May 21, 2008

CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte helped kick off a domestic violence detection program by getting a haircut. Ayotte got her tresses trimmed at Posh Hair Studio in Concord to help launch the Cut It Out program. The program trains beauty salon professionals in New Hampshire to recognize signs of physical and emotional abuse and to safely give clients information on where to get help. Stylists are not taught to be counselors. Salon workers are targeted because they often form relationships with clients they see regularly. The clients also generally arrive at appointments by themselves.
"I spend nearly every month with my hair stylist," Ayotte said Tuesday. "Many people see their hair stylist more often than they see their physician," she said.
And many times women tell their stylists things they don't even share with their families, said Grace Mattern, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, which launched the program. The coalition said state and national studies have found one in three women are abused by intimate partners at some point. Nashua stylist Anita D. Poulin, 38, says warning signs of abuse include clients who avoid eye-contact. She said sometimes a woman can't stand hearing nice things said about herself or worries she is spending too much money on herself.
"The hairstylist' s chair is a safe spot," said Poulin, who from suffered physical and emotional abuse that started when she was young. "Nobody's listening. Nobody's watching. It's you and someone connecting." The coalition is recruiting beauty salon professionals to join the program. It plans to hold training seminars in Nashua, Bedford, Portsmouth, Concord, Laconia, Claremont and Berlin over the next two months. The seminars will be free.
The sessions were made possible after the coalition received a $5,000 grant to send letters about Cut It Out to the state's 2,000 salons. "We can't stop domestic violence with just the police and the crisis centers," Mattern said. "We need the community to get involved. And what better place than hair salons."
The program is being financed by the Women's Fund of New Hampshire. The General Federation of Women's Clubs members will help distribute safety cards to salons.
The program was started in Alabama in 2002 and went national in 2003.
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For more information, contact the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence at (693) 224-8893. ------

Information from: The Telegraph, _http://www.nashuate legraph.com_ (http://www.nashuate legraph.com/) and New Hampshire Union Leader, _http://www.unionlea der.com_ (http://www.unionlea der.com/)