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Middlesex D.A. Ryan Trains Salon Professionals on Domestic Violence Prevention

Aug 20, 2014 10:57AM ● By MaryBeth Long

Middlesex D.A. Marian Ryan

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, in collaboration with the Melrose Alliance Against Violence (MAAV) and the Melrose Police Department,provided training today for over 20 hair stylists, massage therapists and community partners on the warning signs of domestic violence as part of the Cut It Out Middlesex program.

 Participants in Cut It Out Middlesex learn how to spot signs of domestic violence and how to safely refer clients to local community service providers.  The program brings participants together with representatives from community-based domestic violence programs and domestic violence officers from local police departments. 

Joining District Attorney Ryan today in leading the training were Rebecca Mooney, Executive Director of MAAV, and Melrose Chief of Police Michael Lyle.  Others in attendance included Alderman Gail Infurna and Alderman Peter Mortimer.  The event was hosted by Janine Roman, owner of Avenue Hair Designs.  Anne Gilbert, owner of Bodyography Wellness Center in Melrose, also attended the event. 

“Salon professionals are in a unique position to assist domestic violence victims because of the intimate, and often long-term, relationship many of them develop with their clients,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Educated with information about what signs might indicate abuse and what local assistance is available to clients in need, hair stylists and other salon professionals may provide a crucial bridge linking victims with resources and trained advocates who can help.”

District Attorney Ryan has trained over 1,000 students and salon professionals since bringing the Cut It Out program to Middlesex County in 2009.  The program began with school-based training for students at vocational and technical high schools to create awareness around the issue of domestic violence at the earliest stage of students’ professional development.

 In 2012, the program expanded in partnership with Empire Beauty School, the nation’s largest cosmetology and beauty educator, with trainings provided by District Attorney Ryan at Empire’s Middlesex campuses in Lowell, Framingham and Malden.  The partnership with Empire proved so successful that the program has been incorporated into the school’s curriculum.

In its next phase, District Attorney Ryan brought the training program to private salons in Newton and Stoneham.  Then in 2013, in partnership with Elizabeth Grady, District Attorney Ryan expanded the program to include training for students from the Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy as well as for employees at Elizabeth Grady salons.   

“I love the Cut It Out program because it highlights the fact that all of us may be in a position to help a victim of domestic violence, including salon professionals and other nontraditional helpers,” said MAAV’s Rebecca Mooney.  “The message is simple: you don’t have to ‘fix’ the problem or put yourself in harm’s way, but by pointing victims to resources like MAAV, you can make a difference, and possibly even save a life.”

Cut It Out: Salons Against Domestic Abuse was created and first implemented in 2002 in Alabama and is a program of the Professional Beauty Association Foundation. Cut It Out mobilizes salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic violence in communities across the country by building awareness and training salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients, friends, family and co-workers to local resources.  The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office is the only public agency in the state to have developed and implemented a local model of this national program.

“I commend District Attorney Marian Ryan for bringing this important program to Melrose,” said Chief Michael Lyle.  “Domestic violence touches all of us.  Any additional resources to assist in identifying victims of abuse is something I’m open to.  This program is a great resource because if a victim confides one-on-one in a private and comfortable setting like a salon, they will be referred to those who can offer the proper assistance. ”

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