An Illinois mandate recently signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner will require barbers, cosmetologists, aestheticians, hair braiders and nail technicians to complete an hourlong course to help identify instances of domestic violence against their clients and how to handle it.

“There’s an openness, a freeness, a relationship that last years or decades between the client and the cosmetologist,” Illinois state Rep. Fran Hurley told The Chicago Tribune. “They’re in a position to see something that may or may not be right.”

The new law makes Illinois the first state in the country to issue such a mandate, which serves as an opportunity for stylists to identify information about abusive behavior, especially emotional abuse.

The law also requires stylists to complete the course while applying for a new license. An additional hour is added to the 14 hours of continuing education that’s required for license renewal every two years.

But not everyone agrees with this added responsibility. Analie Papageorge, owner of the Steven Papageorge Salon and Beauty Academy in Evanston, told The Tribune that the training puts enormous pressure on stylists, who did not sign up to be social workers or police.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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