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Illinois shelter offers classes to train hair stylists on assault warning signs

“People confide in their hairdressers.”

PRINCETON, ILLINOIS  --  Illinois hair stylists are focused on more than just your look. They are looking for signs of domestic violence.

In 2017, Illinois passed a law requiring licensed hair stylists to take abuse prevention training before getting their license renewed. Illinois was the first state in the nation to pass this type of law.

"Sometimes in an abusive situation, it may be the only time they [the victim] are left alone," Freedom House manager Trisha Schafer said. "They may be left alone to go get their hair done or get their nails done. People confide in their hairdressers."

Freedom House is a Princeton, Illinois organization that offers services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. They offer shelters, classes, legal aide, and other resources. Now, they are offering classes to salon professionals to help stylists recognize the signs of abuse.

"Sometimes hairdressers will see something on the neck and face that is different," Schafer said. "Hairdressers and stylists become friends."

The class can fill the state requirement, but organizers say it's more about doing anything to help victims.

"We can train them to notice change in their mood, or how they do their appointments, or all of the sudden they are so indecisive and they didn't use to be," Schafer said. " Recognizing that personality change."

Freedom house held it's first class on Monday, August 12th, 2019. Salon proffessionls are required to update their class requirement by September 2019.

Freedom House will offer another class on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019.  Click here to register.

14 other states are introducing similar laws. In 2018, Iowa sent out pamphlets showing stylists how to address clients who are victims.