The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has partnered with Empire Beauty School to provide free training to student stylists on how to identify signs of domestic violence and learn the resources available to help those in need.
This public-private partnership brings the national domestic violence prevention program Cut It Out to . The other two schools are in Malden and Lowell.
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 introduces and aligns participants with domestic violence service agencies as well as domestic violence officers from local police departments.
“We are constantly trying to devise creative and effective ways to combat the barriers against disclosure we know victims of domestic violence face and to empower them to access ways to break the cycle of violence,” said District Attorney Leone in a press statement. “We know that salon professionals are often welcome and trusted confidants for many women. With today’s training and unique partnership with Empire, we are teaching salon professionals about the complicated reporting dynamics of domestic violence, and how to recognize the warning signs and safely refer their clients to local resources where they can get help.”
“We recognize stylists are in a unique position to recognize signs of abuse,” Empire Chariman CEO Frank Schoeneman said in a written statement. “Not only are we committed to providing our future professionals with this valuable training, we are dedicated to local anti-domestic violence programs in the communities in which our schools thrive. We do fundraising for these programs, offer free beauty services to shelter residents and their children, as well as offer Educational Endowments to residents who are interested in a career in beauty.”
Leone first brought Cut It Out Middlesex to local vocational and technical high school training programs to create awareness around the issue of domestic violence at the earliest stage of students’ professional development.
In addition to providing ongoing training and resources at Empire’s three campuses, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office will offer Cut It Out training to area salons.
Since many salon professionals build long-standing relationships with their clients, it is not unusual for them to serve as confidantes, enabling salon professionals to identify warning signs common in abusive relationships. Salon professionals are in a unique position to observe physical injuries on their clients’ heads, faces, arms and hands.
The Cut It Out program was conceived and first implemented in 2002 in Alabama and has become the national program of the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund, which is dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to recognize signs of abuse and to fight the epidemic of domestic violence in communities across the United States.
Since he began serving as Middlesex District Attorney in January 2007, Leone has launched a number of initiatives to better serve victims and enhance the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence cases. Leone created the office’s Domestic Violence Unit, a team of specific prosecutors and victim witness advocates charged with investigating and prosecuting DV cases. That unit also offers comprehensive trainings for local police departments as well as organizes community-based Domestic Violence Roundtables throughout the county. In addition, Leone created a first-of-its-kind program to help victims of domestic violence during the restraining order process. Specifically, because prosecutors are not allowed to represent victims during that process, Leone’s office has partnered with private law firms to help assure that victims are afforded pro bono legal services during these restraining order hearings that are critical in helping victims extricate themselves from abusive relationships. Leone’s office has also partnered with organizations to form community-based DV rapid response programs and has created domestic violence high-risk assessment teams throughout Middlesex County.