WHITEHORSE

New way to help women


Hairdressers join fight against violence

A GROUNDBREAKING program to be launched in the eastern suburbs will put hundreds of hairdressers into the fight against domestic violence.

In an Australian first, hairdressers will be given early intervention training to help them talk to clients who might be experiencing violence or abuse.

The Ringwood-based Eastern Domestic Violence Service trialled the HaiR program in the outer east last year and will now roll it out across seven eastern municipalities from July.

Service executive director Jenny Jackson said the agency dealt with 1000 cases a month in the eastern region.

Ms Jackson said hairdressers could recognise problems and respond in a way that showed empathy and belief.

“Women establish relationships and confide in their hairdresser,” Ms Jackson said.

HaiR was started following the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence and is backed by industry groups.

Psychologist Carmel O’Brien said hairdressers would not be acting as counsellors but would help refer women to professionals.