Wolverhampton police have unveiled their latest weapon in the blitz against violent partners – hairdressers, which has been backed by The Mayor of Wolverhampton. In the first pilot scheme of its kind anywhere in the West Midlands, police have drafted in the city’s beauticians to help uncover those who abuse their partners.
The initiative sees experts from Wolverhampton’s Haven refuge work alongside detectives to train beauticians, hairdressers and nail technicians in the signs of abuse and the support networks available, turning them into 'Salon Saviours'.
Recent research has shown hairdressers are one of the top 5 most trusted professions, beaten only by the likes of doctors and scientists. Detective Chief Inspector Michaela Kerr said: “Their position as one of the most trusted trades makes them well placed to offer information and sound advice to survivors.
“Salon Saviours aims to break the silence which has historically surrounded domestic abuse. We want people to be talking about these abhorrent crimes as easily as we talk about car crime or burglary.”
Mayor Councillor Ian Brookfield, who visited Wolverhampton police station to find out more about the initiative, said: "This is a great idea, and I’d like to thank all those hairdressers who have volunteered to become Salon Saviours. “If just one customer feels able to confide in their hairdresser about abuse they may be suffering at home, and action can be taken, then this initiative will have been worth it.
"The key message is that victims of domestic violence or other types of abuse should not suffer in silence − please speak out and get help and support before it’s too late."
All of the Salon Saviours are volunteers, and will have a certificate displayed in their shop. While they are not obliged to report cases to the police, they do have a direct line to detectives and the Haven to share concerns, and if it proves successful, then the Salon Saviours scheme will be rolled out to all areas of the West Midlands. For more information on domestic abuse, the types of abuse, warning signs and how to get help, please visit: www.west-midlands.police.uk.