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Tennessee salon and barber shop workers will now be able to do more than beautify their clients. Starting on Jan. 1, barbers and cosmetologists are now required to complete domestic violence training that will help them point clients who are dealing with intimate partner violence in the right direction.

Senate Bill 216 states:

The applicant successfully completed up to one (1) hour of online or in-person training, at no cost to the applicant, by a nonprofit anti-domestic violence organization recognized by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on domestic violence that focuses on how to recognize the signs of domestic violence, how to respond to these signs, and how to refer a client to resources for victims of domestic violence.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance and the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners partnered up to ensure this bill was passed due to nearly half of all crimes in the state being domestic violence-related. In 2020, 69,385 domestic violence-related incidents were reported with 41.9 percent of the victims being African-American in Tennessee.

Thanks to this bill, over 50,000 licensed cosmetologists and barbers will now be able to aid their clients in need.

“Tennessee’s beauty professionals are caring, compassionate individuals who are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all their customers, but may not know how to respond when confronted with domestic violence,” Board Executive Director Roxana Gumucio said in a news release. “Most domestic violence victims will not report abuse to law enforcement, but they will tell someone with whom they have a long-standing relationship, such as a cosmetologist or barber. Tennessee beauty professionals have a unique position to help identify domestic violence and assist victims.”

This training would be beneficial to salon and barbershop workers across the country, especially in the Black community. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “45.1% of Black women and 40.1% of Black men have experienced intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes.” Research has also shown that there was an increase in intimate partner violence incidents by 8.1 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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