Campaign to tackle domestic abuse continues with the help of county’s hairdressers and beauty therapists
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A major campaign to help tackle domestic abuse is continuing despite Covid-19 restrictions, with virtual events and awareness raising helping to keep it’s important messages alive.
The #CutItOut project was launched last November when 160 professionals attended a training event in Northampton, aimed at raising awareness and training salon workers to recognise the warning signs of domestic abuse and safely refer clients to relevant organisations which can help them.
A second event took place in Corby but the proceeding, planned events scheduled to take place across the county were paused because of Covid-19 restrictions imposed in March.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Glenn, Head of Northamptonshire Police’s Adult Safeguarding, said: “The messages this campaign seeks to promote have never been more important - this year has been an incredibly difficult one for many with stay at home and financial pressures placing additional stress on families.
“We have seen an increase of more than 10 per cent in reports of domestic abuse since the start of the pandemic.
“Hairdressers and therapists are in a unique position to help those who may be experiencing any type of abuse, reassure them and encourage them to take the first steps to getting safe.”
Chief Inspector Julie Mead, who leads the campaign, said: “The relationship between salon professionals and their clients and co-workers is often close and intimate and they may well be able to spot signs of physical abuse which others might not see.
“People are more likely to talk to someone they trust about abuse rather than report it to the police. The salon may be the ideal place to seek help as it could be one of the few places their abuser will allow them to go, or go without them.
“#CutItOut is intended to offer these professionals training on how to be confident in spotting the signs of abuse and how to refer people to get help. The 12-month, countywide roadshow launched last November may be paused but we are continuing to communicate with these professionals with a number of virtual training events – including a number which will be held for students of hairdressing and beauty therapy at Northamptonshire’s colleges.”
The campaign is being funded by Northamptonshire's Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Northamptonshire Police. It forms part of the force's wider strategy in tackling domestic abuse which affects thousands of people in the county every year with numbers increasing since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Between April and September this year, Northamptonshire Police recorded 7,607 domestic related incidents. This is an 11.4 per cent increase on the previous year. During the summer period after the COIVD lockdown (June – August), domestic related incidents were 14.3 per cent higher than last year, reflecting the national impact of COVID-19 restrictions on domestic abuse victims. It should also be noted that nationally, charities have received significant growth in calls relating to domestic abuse.
Participants of #CutItOut events are trained to spot the signs of domestic abuse (particularly the more subtle elements of coercion and control). They are then given advice on how to support clients, what to say, what to avoid saying, and what other support is available locally and nationally.
The #CutItOut brand originated in Norwich, Norfolk, following a tragic murder. In 2017, weeks after confiding in her hairdresser Annie Reilly, Kerri McAuley was killed by an abusive partner. As a result of this, the campaign, which has since seen success in Rochdale too, was developed.
Regular updates are posted on the Northamptonshire Police website and its social media channels. Salon professionals who would like to know more can contact [email protected]
If you are concerned about a friend, relative or colleague, or are suffering from domestic abuse, the following links offer guidance and advice:
To access a perpetrator programme, contact Respect – the national association for domestic violence perpetrator programmes and associated support services.
If you're a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is and there's an emergency ongoing or life is in danger, call 999 now. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS serviceExternal Link.
In non-emergency cases and for general advice, please call 101. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
You can also call the national 24-hour domestic abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247.