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Domestic Violence Shelter Trains Hair Stylists to Spot Abuse

Carlene Sisbarro

A local domestic violence shelter, Harmony House, is training hair and nail salon owners how to spot signs of abuse and how to respond.

The familiar smell of nail polish, the sound of hair being swept up, and chatter between stylists and clients might provide abuse victims with a sense of security for maybe a half hour, every few weeks. The trust between clients and stylists is exactly what the local nonprofit Harmony House is using to help spot signs of domestic abuse in a program called Cut It Out.

Cut It Out trains salon professionals how to recognize, respond to, and refer abuse. Harmony House says that stylists are uniquely qualified to notice signs of abuse in their clients, but Cut It Out helps hone those skills and teaches salon professionals how to react to that information in an effective way.

Rachel Carter, coordinator for prevention education at Harmony House, says trainers can travel to salons to teach stylists to spot physical and emotional signs of abuse, such as pulled hair or a partner who walks a client in and tells them what haircut they should get.

Carter hopes that cosmetology schools and salons in and around Springfield will choose to receive the free lessons and training certificate.

“Something as simple as saying ‘Hey, are you okay,” or ‘Hey, there’s a number you can call,’ that can be a matter of life or death for a survivor, and I really, really want to stress that with salon professionals in our community, that they do have a really unique positions and can make a difference in somebody’s life,” Carter told KSMU.

Salon professionals interested in signing up for the program can call (417)-837-7700 or email at