ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Beauty industry professionals are in a unique position to identify and support survivors. Law makers say they one of the strongest lines of defense against domestic violence and sexual assault.
A new state law on the books requires people in the beauty industry to undergo domestic violence and sexual assault training.
“I just saw a salon owner post, that her client told her she was being physically abused,” License Esthetician at Brooks & Harlow Salon Megan Shapiro said.
“She asked, ‘has anyone ran into this situation and if so how did you handle it?”
According to the latest data of New York State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline, more that 250,000 called were received in 2018.
Monroe County is the fifth highest in the state when it came to the call volume outside of New York City. This new law would require those who are renewing or seeking to obtain a beauty license, to also undergo a one hour training course.
The training would include how to help victims in dangerous situations and provide them with the appropriate resources to seek help — but it would not require the reports of incidents to law enforcement.
“I think the training would be necessary and you know, knowledge is power in any topic or aspect. The reason I came into this business was to make people feel good — but if there’s a way that I can learn more to help somebody with a really serious matter, then I would want serious training,” Shapiro said.
Downstate Assemblywoman and University of Rochester Graduate Linda Rosenthal gave a statement, showing support for the law.
“The strongest line of defense against domestic violence and sexual assault is to create as many access points to help as possible. Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault often delay seeking help out of fear for their lives. Beauty industry professionals, who often see clients on a frequent basis, are in a unique position to identify and support survivors, and this new law will help to arm them as advocates. Escaping domestic violence or sexual assault is not something that a person should have to deal with on their own. Now, with this new law, we’re empowering community members and beauty industry professionals to lend a helping hand.”
Currently, a curriculum is being developed for that training and must be approved by April before this law goes into effect.