The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) announced a new initiative targeting salon and spa professionals, such as hair stylists and colorists, manicurists, estheticians and massage therapists, to help them support clients who may be victims of domestic abuse. The centerpiece of the initiative – a short video illustrating how these professionals can broach the subject if they are concerned about a client – will be distributed this month to approximately 78,000 appearance enhancement professionals licensed by New York. Developed by OPDV in collaboration with the state’s Media Services Center, the “I Am ABLE” (I Am Aware, I Believe, I Listen, I Empower) initiative builds upon efforts by the agency to encourage individuals to be an ally if they suspect a friend, colleague or loved one is the victim of physical, emotional and/or financial abuse.
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Deputy Director Shannon Cantiello said, “The I Am ABLE message is a reminder that we are all able to be an ally to victims of domestic violence. This campaign targeting salons is an innovative and creative way to empower these professionals to offer support, to listen without judgement, and to believe victims who are confiding in them.”
The video features professional actors portraying Yolanda, a stylist, and Nina, her client. When Yolanda notices troubling marks on Nina’s neck, she quietly asks Nina if she wants to talk. When Nina admits her significant other has been controlling and physically abusive, Yolanda offers her support without judgment and the number for the state’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline (800-942-6906). The video ends with Yolanda stressing the I Am ABLE theme and reminding anyone watching that they, too, can be an ally to victims of domestic violence.
OPDV is partnering with the state Department of State, which licenses spa and salon professionals, to distribute the video and information about additional resources, including printed materials featuring the Hotline number, to have available for clients.
Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “We at the Department of State are ready and proud to be an active participant of the ‘I Am ABLE’ initiative to help empower women suffering with domestic violence. By distributing the information to our licensees on how to participate, we are making the difference and giving beauty professionals the tools to support and help those who are quietly living with physical and mental abuse.”
New Yorkers are also encouraged to wear purple on Thursday, Oct. 24 for the nationally recognized Wear Purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Day. Hundreds of individuals, municipalities, organizations, law enforcement agencies, businesses, colleges and universities across the state and country participate in this campaign each year. OPDV’s online toolkit features social media graphics and other materials that can be used by individuals, agencies, nonprofits, employers and others seeking to raise awareness this month or throughout the year. Tag @NYSOPDV and #NYGoesPurple4DV on social media.
The New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (1-800-942-6906) offers help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711. New York State also supports and funds community-based programs, including these domestic violence resources and victim assistance programs, for victims of domestic and sexual violence and other crimes.
The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has three primary areas of focus: to advise the Governor and Legislature on policies and practices for the state; to train professionals from all disciplines across the state about the intersection of domestic violence in their daily practice; and to serve as a resource regarding the issue of domestic violence by disseminating regular public awareness campaigns, publishing materials for use by non-profits and victims and highlighting best practices.