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Force calls on hair professionals to help victims of domestic abuse

2 Jul 2020

As lockdown restrictions in the fight against Covid-19 are further eased, hair salons are just one of the business sectors preparing to reopen their doors from 4 July. We are asking professionals to familiarise themselves with the signs of domestic abuse, in consideration for returning, or new, clients who may have lived through lockdown with their abuser.

Figures show that one in four women and one in seven men will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime. This means that around 78,000 women and 44,000 men across the county will be affected by this crime and, following the lockdown period where social distancing and isolation may have contributed to abuse and to coercive and controlling behaviours, victims may consider a salon a safe space where they can speak more freely about what is happening to them.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Dadd, head of the force’s Emerald team, which is dedicated to the investigation of domestic abuse, said: “Domestic abuse takes many forms, and victims will mask injuries with clothing or makeup, which can make outward signs hard to spot.

“In the beauty and personal grooming sector, relationships built on trust between client and practitioner may last over the course of years, or even decades, even if it is only for an hour or two at a time.

“An appointment away from the home may be one of the few opportunities a victim has to seek help, or be open to hearing about it, so we are asking, as you welcome your clients back, please be aware that some may be living with domestic abuse.

“Men and women both use these services, and may tell their stylist or barber the things that they wouldn’t say to anyone else. Professionals may also notice new or healing injuries, or with regular clients, be aware of behavioural changes.

“By providing a listening ear and encouraging someone to seek help, or make a report, you could make a difference.”

Domestic abuse can be described as any incident, or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are, or have been, intimate partners, or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

This can involve psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse and is largely a hidden crime, but abusers will continue to exercise control and exert fear, even in public.

For more information and advice about domestic abuse please visit our information pages.

Abuse in any form is never acceptable. If you have concerns about a person’s behaviour towards another, or you fear for your own, or someone else’s safety, please get in touch.

Call police on 101, always call 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively you can call independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously and in complete confidence, on 0800 555 111, or report via its website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org This news of eased restrictions follows in the footsteps of the announcement by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, of the launch of a new fund, worth £169,000, to help victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, through a range of specialist support organisations across the county.

Victims of domestic abuse can also contact the Signpost Hub for free and confidential support, whether the abuse has been reported or not.

The Signpost Hub’s experienced staff and volunteers understand the emotions and challenges victims may be going through. They are specially trained to listen and give help and advice. Often just talking to someone, especially one who is not family or a friend, can help victims, or those affected, make sense of what has happened and find a way to help cope and recover.

They can provide a safe, neutral place for victims to voice their fears, worries and emotions, and the support is confidential and non-judgmental. They also work with a range of specialist organisations and community support groups, and can make referrals to help victims. For further information or to get in contact visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com/hub

 

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