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Malden beauty school students taught to detect domestic violence

Posted by Jarret Bencks  December 13, 2012 11:49 AM

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Jarret Bencks

Jessica Brayden of anti-violence agency Respond speaks to Empire Beauty School students Thursday.

A classroom full of beauty school students in Malden took some time off of their normal studies Thursday to hear from experts on ways to detect domestic violence.

Inside Empire Beauty School on Pleasant Street, Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone announced a partnership to hold trainings for future beauty shop workers.

"There are so many barriers against disclosure that victims of domestic face," Leone said. "We've got to lower those barriers."

Cut it Out is a national program aimed at helping hairstylists spot and report domestic violence. Leone's office has previously worked in conjunction with Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford, and will now expand to hold regular seminars at Empire Beauty Schools in Malden, Framingham, and Lowell, Leone said.

Students heard from an assistant prosecutor, police officer, and the executive director of Respond, a Somerville-based regional anti-domestic violence agency. They were taught how to spot both physical signs of abuse, such as bruising and bald spots, and how to detect potential abuse through conversation.

In some cases, a trip to the beauty salon may be the only hope for domestic violence to be noticed, Empire spokeswoman Angela Watson said.

"If there's one place an abuser may let a victim go by herself, it might be the beauty salon," she said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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