CUTTING EDGE: Hairdresser Sally Griffiths, of Winks in%Lismore, chatting with Karuna Fielden, manager of Lismore and District W
CUTTING EDGE: Hairdresser Sally Griffiths, of Winks in%Lismore, chatting with Karuna Fielden, manager of Lismore and District W

Hairdressers at cutting edge of domestic abuse

By ANDY PARKS

AFTER 22 years of hairdressing Sally Griffiths has heard it all.

She is even thinking of writing a book called Hairy Moments, detailing some of the more interesting stories she has heard.

"People do share their confidence with you. I think it's because you are close to them, but not family, and can listen without judging." she said.

Sally works at Winks Hair Studio in Lismore which is one of about 25 hairdressing salons invited to participate in a new project called 'Cut It Out', run by the Lismore and District Women's Health Centre.

The program aims to%reduce domestic abuse of%women and children in the Lismore area by providing education and training to the staff of local hairdressing%salons.

"I think it's a great idea. We are often the accidental counsellors. We hear problems and often don't know where to send people, but if we are given accurate information then we can suggest to people where to go for further assistance if it's needed," she said.

The manager of the Lismore and District Women's Health Centre, Karuna Fielden, said they had 'plagiarised the concept from a campaign held nationally in America'.

"We contacted them and they said we could use the name. For us it's a way to engage small businesses, do some training and print some resources, then we'll evaluate it from there."

Ms Fielden said hairdressers wouldn't be trained to do the work of professional counsellors and psychiatrists, but would be engaged to support women and learn more about domestic violence. The brochure they are producing will have the contact details for professional services that can help.

"Domestic violence information often looks really dry and it can scare people. They think 'that's not me' and don't identify with it. We've tried to make it look a bit spunky with a graphic of a girl having a bad hair day. The idea is that hairdressers can distribute it with their next appointment card and women might keep it in their wallet for nine months, or give it to a friend who needs it."

The idea seems to have taken off even before it is officially launched as part of the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.

Karuna Fielden has been contacted by media organisations all over Australia.



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