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Thursday, February 21, 2019

NKU Student Creates Program to Help Beauty Industry Professionals to Recognize Domestic Violence

Highlights for Hope, a new initiative created by a Northern Kentucky University graduate student, looks to educate professionals in the beauty industry to recognize domestic violence and provide a sounding board for individuals impacted by it.

Taylor Zumwalt, a student in NKU’s Master of Social Work program, realized many victims of domestic violence have relationships with their salon professionals. She saw these relationships as an opportunity for victims to take the step to end the abuse – leading her to create Highlights of Hope.

Highlights of Hope, a training program through NKU’s Norse Violence Prevention center, educates salon professionals to recognize the signs of domestic violence, understand how to broach the subject and provide victims with resources to seek help.

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“Many salon professionals were saying that their clients tell them a lot of personal things and are seeing signs of what they think is domestic violence, but they didn’t know how to handle them,” said Zumwalt. “I want these professionals to have the resources to share and be able to direct their clients to find help. It’s awareness focused and not interventionist training.”

As part of her Master of Social Work requirements, Zumwalt was required to create a community project while working at the Norse Violence Prevention center. She had read an article about Illinois passing a law requiring domestic violence training for salon professionals, and the idea for her project took shape.

“I thought this law was pretty cool, but I asked myself, ‘why can’t we train people even without a law?’ I reached out to Chicago Says No More, the group that was behind the push for the Illinois law, and they provided some guidance. From there, I created Highlights for Hope,” said Zumwalt.

A number of salons in the area participated in training events last fall, including 501 Salon & Spa in Bellevue, Kentucky. Salon Owner Kate Moeves says the program was incredibly helpful.

“There is a unique relationship between a stylist and their clients, where you can open up and share things. The training also walked us through how to bring up the subject in a respectful way and know what to do if a conversation does happen,” said Moeves. “Another great part of Highlights for Hope is having domestic violence brochures placed discreetly in the salon, so clients can get information if they are not ready to talk about it.”

Michael's College of Hair Design in Florence, Zoe Grace Salon in Fort Mitchell and the Great Clips in Cold Spring also participated in Highlights for Hope training. Taylor is looking to get the word out to more salons, both in Kentucky and Cincinnati. The training is free and can be personalized to fit their services.

“There’s a big stigma with domestic violence, and we don’t talk about things that make us uncomfortable. The whole purpose of this training is to make people feel comfortable, to make them feel like they can have this conversation and be educated about it,” said Zumwalt.  “In most of these situations there are signs early on, and I hope to train as many people as I can to recognize those signs and be empowered to act. That’s where the name comes from—it’s about highlighting hope for people in seemingly hopeless situations.”

To learn more about Highlights for Hope, email Taylor Zumwalt or call 859-760-4884. If you would like more information on domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website.

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