Beauticians in Unique Position to Help Domestic Violence Victims

The first person to spot domestic abuse may be an unlikely prospect: the victim’s hair stylist, nail technician or massage therapist.

Victims often confide in these intimate professionals in comfortable surroundings – and then stop coming.

But that still leaves at least one final chance to get educational resources and sources of help into their hands first.

The abuse spotted may be a bruise – or an overwhelming exertion of control.

Heidi Markow is standing before a group of hair stylists, massage therapists and nail technicians at TC Salon & Spa in Bethlehem, Pa., but she’s not there to talk perms or pampering.

She has something more serious on her mind. She wants to know if any of them have seen signs of possible domestic abuse in their clients.

The hands start going up.

Jase Defreitas said he noticed a bruise on his client’s side during a massage.

Skin care specialist Alison Norton recalled giving a facial to a woman whose cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing with calls from her husband.

And TC owner Frank Shipman said he’s noticed husbands who never leave their wives’ sides during a hair appointment, even dictating the color and cut.

"The control is frightening," he said.