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New law requires Illinois hairstylists to be trained in domestic violence support

By   /   December 15, 2016  /   No Comments

Beginning in January, Illinois hairstylists will be getting an addition to their job description.

An amendment to bill HB 4264, signed into law in August and taking effect in the new year, requires all hair stylists in Illinois be trained in domestic violence support.

“To have these individuals be knowledgeable and trained in signs of domestic abuse could actually be a lifeline for an individual who is in a domestic abuse situation.” Said bill co-sponsor Stephanie Kifowit.

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LICENSE TO COUNSEL: Hair stylists in Illinois will now be required to take a class on domestic violence so they can help victims.

Bill sponsor Frances Ann Hurley told Watchdog that if the stylists don’t receive the training, they will lose their license.

Many hairstylists in Illinois are confused about the new law.

“It’s out there, but nobody really knows what it is,” Dan Rubino, owner of Innovations Salon of Naperville told Watchdog. “I don’t think when you sign up for [hairdressing] you sign up to be a psychologist.”

“Right now there’s only one source of education which is to go to Chicago. That is really ridiculous for the state of Illinois,” said Bernie Koch, manager of Appearances Salon & Retreat West. “The training needs to be available in a more reasonable way.”

Koch was on the board of a home for battered women for 6 years, and told Watchdog that domestic violence is a subject he is very familiar with and passionate about.

“I don’t know what the training entails. I hope and pray that they are not encouraging hair dressers to get involved in people’s personal struggles,” Koch said. “To insert yourself into that situation is a huge mistake. That needs to be done by professionals.”

“We are not professionals in the area of domestic violence and a two-hour training program is not going to make us professionals or have the ability to give any sort of advice,” he added. “The best that we could do is to make information available through a brochure or a telephone number where they could get help; anything beyond that is overstepping our bounds.”

Apparently hair stylists aren’t the only ones confused about the law. Neither bill co-sponsors Michael Zalewski or Kifowit were able to tell us where funding for the training would be coming from.

“I’m not sure that there’s anyone that has to pay anything to do this,” Zalewski said.

Hurley informed us that the hairstylists themselves would have to pay for the training.

Yesenia Maldonado is an executive director at Between Friends, a non-profit dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse. She told Watchdog that she understands the frustration but hopes stylists will see the benefits in the long run.

“I don’t think anyone loves being mandated to do anything but I do think that this is a law that’s really going to help a lot of people and change a lot of lives,” Maldonado said.

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Will Horn is a Fall 2016 Journalism Intern for Watchdog.org.