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Helpmate partners with Aabani Salon to cut domestic violence

A News 13 story about legislation in Illinois has led to a partnership between Aabani Salon and a nonprofit in Asheville.

That legislation requires cosmetologists to be trained on how to help protect clients from domestic violence.

RELATED | Local hairstylists want to cut hair and domestic violence

Thanks to a partnership with Helpmate, hairstylists at Aabani Salon are now trained how to spot the signs of domestic violence.

"We went into picking out signs, going about having a conversation if someone does care to share any information and we also had a chance to listen to actual 911 emergency calls in regards to domestic violence as it was actually occurring, so it was pretty intense," Justine Elbertson, a manager at Aabani Salon, said.

"Whenever a survivor first talks about their need for help, whether it's their doctor's office, with a law enforcement officer, with an advocate like me or with their hairstylist, that they get the same key messages that we care about you, you deserve to be safe, and there's help available," April Burgess-Johnson, the executive director of Helpmate, said. "We try to work with folks to help them know some of the common signs of domestic violence, what to say when a survivor discloses and how to quickly get that person to help."

Aabani Salon hopes to set an example for other salons and businesses to get involved and get trained.

"I think in the beauty industry we're here to help people not only feel beautiful but also feel good deep down inside," Elbertson said.

Now, each station at Aabani Salon has Helpmate pamphlets available for all clients.

"I have seen many people pick them up, and we have heard about many people taking them with them, so it's a start," Elbertson said. "You have to start somewhere, so I think that's a good start."

Now, Aabani Salon is pushing for similar legislation to be passed in North Carolina. The first step is spreading the word and getting other businesses involved.

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