As of January 1st, all cosmetologists in Illinois must receive domestic violence support training. This combination may seem odd, but to those familiar with the atmosphere within salons and the relationships formed between hairdressers and clients, the connection is clear. Many women go to the same stylists for years, forming friendships. Getting a manicure or touching up their highlights is also an opportunity to catch up and in some cases, confide in someone about trouble at home. Cosmetologists around the state will tell you, hearing about domestic violence from clients is not new. This law ensures stylist are ready to offer support when they hear someone has suffered abuse and when the moment is right, point someone toward resources that can help them leave the situation.
HB 4264 Amends the Barber, Cosmetology, Hair Braiding and Nail Technology Act of 1985
Rep. Frances Ann Hurley (D-Dist.35) initially sponsored HB 4264 in July 2015. The bill quickly added a number of co-sponsors before passing the House in December the same year. It then passed the Senate in May 2016 with a few amendments. After the changes to the bill were approved by the House, it was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner who signed it into law as Public Act 99-0766 on August 12, 2016, to be effective January 1, 2017.
Public Act 99-0766 adds to the Barber, Cosmetology, Hair Braiding and Nail Technology Act of 1985, which regulates the licensing and continuing education requirements for cosmetologists within the state. Under the new act, in order to renew a cosmetologist’s, esthetician’s, nail technician’s or hair braider’s license every 2 years, individuals must go through one hour of training on domestic violence and sexual assault awareness education provided by a continuing education provider approved by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
The purpose of this new requirement is to ensure that cosmetology professionals are equipped to identify abuse victims and handle confessions regarding domestic violence. However, the act makes it clear that a cosmetologist is not civilly or criminally liable for acting or failing to act on information obtained about possible domestic violence, abuse, or sexual assault while at work. While a stylist or nail technician should have information available for the client, there is not duty to go to the police about an alleged situation.
The Benefits of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Education
Hairstylists and nail technicians are in a unique position of being an objective third-party who get to know clients by seeing them on a relatively frequent basis. Because a stylist or nail technician is not a direct friend or family member, clients often feel like they can open up about life. This gives stylists and nail technicians the opportunity to notice signs of physical violence, sexual assault, or emotional abuse. Professionals who are aware of the signs will be better able to identify victims and then provide comfort and support to their clients without causing distress. Without training, a cosmetologist may not realize a client is in need of help or may not know how to react to information about a domestic violence situation. If someone reacts poorly, the client could become defensive or less likely to ask for help. Hopefully this law will give domestic abuse victims another way to learn about helplines, programs, shelters, and legal options for leaving their situation.
Contact Me as Soon as Possible
As an experienced family law attorney, I have helped many individuals leave dangerous situations and obtain long-term protective orders against their abusers. I understand that many victims of domestic abuse are afraid to go to the police. They may fear that they will not be taken seriously or that it will make the situation worse. While the police might not feel like an option, there are legal avenues individuals can take to keep themselves safe. To learn more about your options, including protective orders, call me at (312) 621-5234 or contact me online to schedule a consultation.