Salon Professionals Learn New Skills in Domestic Violence Awareness

United Way employee, Perri Garvin, has lots to say about domestic violence and he's been speaking about it for more than 20 years. He's spoken with clients experiencing domestic violence as a volunteer on the Support Network Crisis Line, he's been personally involved in a rescue and he's had friends involved in domestic violence situations. He is now a presenter with the "Cut it Out" - Salons Against Domestic Violence program to bring awareness and knowledge to client based services where staff might meet clients in domestic violence situations. 

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The program is organized by Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society and supported in partnership with Stop Abuse in Families Society (SAIF), Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region.



"Cut it Out" is an educational presentation to hairstylists to teach them how to recognize the signs of domestic violence with their clients. Stylist have the unique opportunity to help clients who are experiencing abuse in a domestic relationship because the salon environment provides a comfortable place of communication and clients build trusted relationships with their stylist.  Stylist get to know their clients in a way that may help them recognize signs of abuse that others might miss.

Perri Garvin, United Way and Jenn Vogel, Families First Society, speak to salon students about domestic violence awareness.

Perri Garvin, United Way and Jenn Vogel, Families First Society, speak to salon students about domestic violence awareness.

The initiative teaches hairstylists how to be aware of and discuss the signs of domestic violence with their clients and it also provides them with information on what community resources are available to victims of abuse. Participants are given information, such as:

  • how to recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship

  • how to respond by safely supporting the person experiencing abuse

  • how to assist the client to get help through available local resources

Presentation are made to students at the 3 different hair & beauty schools or on a 3 month rotation to present to the new classes. This program is based on the model developed in Alabama in 2002 and the Ontario model based on the death review of Arlene May, who was killed by her boyfriend and had told her hairstylist that she was worried for her life.

I do believe the more people we speak to about domestic violence the better chance we have of stopping it. This is an issue that can be prevented we just need people to understand that they can do something to help. - Perri