Nicky Clarke became involved when he heard of a new training programme developed by the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit for students of hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapies. It helps them spot the signs of domestic abuse and to support their clients to report violence and seek help.
Nicky Clarke attended the launch in the training salon at Activate Learning’s Oxford city centre campus today (20 April). He toured the facility and spoke with staff and students, learning more about how the training is being delivered to hundreds of trainee hair and beauty students.
With one in four women and one in six men experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their life, the Cut It Out campaign was first launched in Norfolk following the death of Kerri McAuley, who was killed in 2017 by her abusive partner. Before her death, Kerri had disclosed to her hairdresser that she was the victim of abuse and reached out for support, but the seriousness wasn’t realised.
The Cut It Out campaign recognises that a hairdresser, barber or beauty therapist is in a position of privilege with their client, not only working physically close to them but also very often, they are someone trusted to talk to or confide in.
Sergeant Claire Furness, working with the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, saw the opportunity to take the campaign further and reach the hair and beauty industry at the earliest stage through their training at local colleges.
The training content was first developed with Milton Keynes College. Activate Learning has then gone on to develop an online training resource which is now freely available via its website to all other colleges and any professional working in the industry.
An animated Sgt Furness features in the training, helping explore the different sorts of domestic abuse that occur. Not just physical, but emotional, financial and controlling behaviours. It provides advice on how to encourage someone to make a report, escape abuse and signposts to leading support organisations.
Sergeant Claire Furness, of Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit, said:
“I’m passionate in tackling domestic abuse, which causes misery and claims lives. Sadly, there are many hidden victims, often suffering for years before reaching out for help.
“This is why everyone in our community has a role to play; professionals from hair-dressers to plumbers, from employers to neighbours. Anyone who may see something that they feel isn’t right, or who have a trusted relationship and can provide advice and help someone escape abuse.
“We hope that this training will empower more people to spot the signs and to give that support. Together we can cut out domestic abuse.”
Sally Dicketts CBE, Group Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said:
“We are proud of the quality of the education and training we provide our students, preparing them for their future careers.
“Through this project, we have created a fantastic resource that will help train the next generation of hair and beauty professionals, helping them to support their clients and keep them safe.
“We want to show leadership across the education sector and are making the resources freely-available to other colleges and to employers, so that we share this learning as far as we can.”
Nicky Clarke, hair stylist and co-owner of Nicky Clarke Hairdressing, said:
“Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit’s initiative to train hair and beauty students to spot the signs of domestic abuse has my full support.
“Hairdressers have an incredibly unique position of trust with our clients because of the relationship we build with them and it is so important for us to learn how we could potentially help in situations of domestic abuse.
“I will definitely be partaking in and encouraging my staff to complete the training to help wherever we can.”
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or are worried about someone who may be, you can contact Thames Valley Police. If there is an emergency that’s ongoing or life is in danger call 999 immediately. If you cannot speak, call 999 and dial 55. In a non-emergency case and for general advice call 101. Further information is available on the Thames Valley Police website.
There is a wide range of support organisations available, including more local services. Further information is available on the Thames Valley Police website.