Tennessee just passed a law requiring beauty professionals to undergo anti-domestic violence training to better equip them with the tools needed to spot signs of abuse. Effective starting Jan. 1, 2022, the legislation will see roughly 50,000 licensed salon workers in the state get up to an hour of training from a nonprofit anti-domestic violence organization that is recognized by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
According to the law, the goal is for beauty professionals, like hairstylists and salon owners, to know 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." This new requirement has the potential to help many victims of domestic violence and even save lives, as beauty professionals often double as therapists for their clients during services. Salon workers have the unique ability to chat one-on-one with patrons and get to know them on a deeper level.
State Rep. Sam Whitson and Sen. Becky Massey worked with the YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee to create the law. "The COVID-19 pandemic showed that not everyone is safer at home," said Rep. Whitson in a press release with the TN Department of Commerce and Insurance. "I'm proud to have sponsored this legislation and equally proud of the vast majority of my colleagues for recognizing the crisis of domestic violence and acting to make positive change in our laws."
The training will be available both in-person and online and will come at no cost to the beauty expert. Those who already have their license have until 2024 to complete the training, while those currently in cosmetology school will be required to become certified before obtaining their license to work. Tennessee joins states such as New York, Illinois, and Arkansas, which already have a similar law in existence.