Hairdressers to get domestic violence training

Hairdressers in Gloucestershire could get training on spotting the signs of domestic violence and helping victims.

The Hollie Gazzard Trust wants to work with salon workers on an intervention initiative to support clients who may be experience physical and emotional abuse.

The trust was set up in memory of the 20-year-old hairdresser, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Asher Maslin, as she worked at Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty salon in Gloucester in February this year.

Her dad, Nick, from Churchdown, said it had been working with the University of Bristol on an intervention initiative it is rolling out to its law students in a bid to help bystanders understand domestic violence and give advice to those suffering from it.

He said: “At the moment, the perpetrators have got the upper hand because it is just not talked about. This is about safety in numbers and teaching bystanders what to do.

“On a smaller scale, we want to work with hairdressers and teach them how to identify this kind of abuse.

“We know from Hollie that women have a bond with their hairdresser and will often open up to them, so it is important that hairdressers know how to identify it and what to do in that situation.

“It is not about making the hairdressers counsellors, but making sure that they know where the woman can get help and providing consistent advice.

“We will take the initiative from the University of Bristol and adapted it to hairdressers. I have talked to a few salons and they seem very keen on it.

“Some of the points of the bystanders initiative will be passed on to sixth form children in our education programme as well.

“We want it to help bring a consistent approach in the way we’re dealing with the domestic abuse and violence across Gloucestershire.

“We need to keep raising the issue and getting people to talk about it to have the safety in numbers and take away the perpetrators upper hand.”

Matt Bryan, owner of The Cutting Connection, based at Sports Direct Fitness in Tewkesbury Road, Cheltenham, is keen to get on board.

He said: “It seems like a good idea to raise awareness of domestic abuse and to be proactive in helping the trust to raise money to support people in a vulnerable position.

“Often clients share their troubles with me and my colleagues and we hope to offer a helping hand along the way and make the whole hairdressing experience more positive for them.

“We build lasting relationships and I like to reach out to help my clients if they ever need it as we have a trusting and lasting good bonds with our clients.

“We are a small salon and as stylist we look after the client very closely and provide a really relaxing environment which is not at all intimidating and we are welcoming from start to finish.

“This will educate us all in such a way that we can spot the signs better and be more proactive in helping clients do something about it.

“Nick has really inspired me personally with his amazing work and how he is doing everything possible to make something positive happen out of the tragic death of Hollie.

“I feel the work he has started is just out of this world and I just want to support him and family and any friends as much as possible to continue this campaign.”