Bedfordshire Police calls on hair professionals to help victims of domestic abuse Image: LoloStock AdobeStock_55703389

One in four women and one in seven men will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime

As lockdown restrictions in the fight against COVID-19 are further eased, hair salons are just one of the business sectors preparing to reopen their doors from 4 July 2020.

Bedfordshire Police is asking professionals to familiarise themselves with the signs of domestic abuse, in consideration for returning, or new, clients who may have lived through lockdown with their abuser.

The Force said that one in four women and one in seven men will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime. Adding that around 78,000 women and 44,000 men across the county will be affected by this crime.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Dadd, head of the force’s Emerald team, which is dedicated to the investigation of domestic abuse, said:

“Domestic abuse takes many forms, and victims will mask injuries with clothing or makeup, which can make outward signs hard to spot.

“In the beauty and personal grooming sector, relationships built on trust between client and practitioner may last over the course of years, or even decades, even if it is only for an hour or two at a time.

“An appointment away from the home may be one of the few opportunities a victim has to seek help, or be open to hearing about it, so we are asking, as you welcome your clients back, please be aware that some may be living with domestic abuse.

“Men and women both use these services, and may tell their stylist or barber the things that they wouldn’t say to anyone else. Professionals may also notice new or healing injuries, or with regular clients, be aware of behavioural changes.

“By providing a listening ear and encouraging someone to seek help, or make a report, you could make a difference.”

Abuse is largely a hidden crime

Domestic abuse can be described as any incident, or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are, or have been, intimate partners, or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

This can involve psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse and is largely a hidden crime, but abusers will continue to exercise control and exert fear, even in public.

For more information and advice about domestic abuse please visit the force’s information pages.

Abuse in any form is never acceptable. If you have concerns about a person’s behaviour towards another, or you fear for your own, or someone else’s safety, please get in touch with the police by calling 101.

Always call 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively you can call independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously and in complete confidence, on 0800 555 111, or report via its website.

Victims of domestic abuse can also contact the Signpost Hub for free and confidential support, whether the abuse has been reported or not.

For further information or to get in contact visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com/hub.