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Hairstylists across Kansas City area saving lives with domestic violence training

Hair stylists are being trained on looking for signs of abuse throughout Kansas and Missouri
Posted at 7:58 AM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 08:58:34-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Safehome, a women's shelter in Johnson County, is actively training hairstylists throughout the Kansas City area on how to look for signs of domestic violence.

This effort to highlight and end domestic violence comes during Domestic Violence Awareness month this October.

As of now, Safehome's shelter is at full capacity with 32 children, all under the age of 12.

22 women are currently staying with them.

“You're going there by yourself, your abuser is not with you and you're able just to really open up and share the things that are going on in your life,” said Megan McGee, Senior Director of Development at Safehome.

Safehome’s 24-hour hotline number is posted throughout Beauty Brands styling stations. Beauty Brands recently partnered with Moroccanoil to introduce a new product: Moroccanoil All In One Leave-in Conditioner. 100% of proceeds from the sale of the product goes towards domestic violence awareness.

“I was the manager at the time and she had a pair of sunglasses on and she was asking me for some concealer,” Leah LaSala with Beauty Brands said. "When I went to color match her she was a little bit self-conscious at first, but after I had spoken with her a little bit, she pulled her glasses down and didn't really say any words to me at all, but I could tell by her heart that that's what she was telling me.”

LaSala has worked in salons across Kansas and says the majority of the incidents have taken place at locations in Johnson County.

“You just hope and pray that they take advantage of the opportunity that you're giving them and they have the strength to do it,” LaSala said. “I think the strength piece is huge.”

According to data from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, in 2021, law enforcement agencies reported 22,593 domestic violence incidents to the state. According to their crime clock for the year, one domestic violence murder was reported every 11 days, nine hours, 45 minutes and four seconds.

One domestic violence incident was reported every 23 minutes and 16 seconds and law enforcement made one domestic violence arrest every 47 minutes, 22 seconds. KBI says this isn’t average, as there are some periods within a year that see more domestic violence incidents.

In the state of Missouri, 10% of murders reported in 2020 in the state were domestic violence-related, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. 75% of those crimes involved a male offender and 31% of survivors were in a relationship with their offender.

“One time I had the husband come in with a woman and he stepped away for a moment and I just gave her the brochure,” LaSala said. “Many times they come back afterwards and they've gone through it and they're on their feet and they're grateful.”

Safehome says styling training focuses on how stylists can hand out hotline numbers to their clients and to look for signs, not just physical abuse.

“Abuse comes in many forms,” McGee said. “It can be emotional, mental, physical and sometimes it's not just the outward signs, sometimes it's the insecurity, the mental abuse, the financial abuse, the the isolation that they've been experiencing.”

LaSala says she keeps in contact with some of her clients who have survived their domestic violence battle and says the bond between a stylists and a client can’t easily be broken.

“The abuser makes them feel less and everything we do back in this room makes them feel better about themselves, to maybe give them hope and strength to move through that and grow from that experience,” LaSala said. “That's why I think it's such a big deal for the service providers to participate.”

Those facing domestic violence can call the following help lines for assistance:

  • Safehome in Johnson County: 913-262-2868
  • Kansas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence: 785-232-9784
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Domestic Violence Metro Hotline: 816-468-5463
  • Hope House: 816-461-HOPE