How to spot signs of abuse among clients

One in three women will experience abuse in their lifetime, with two killed each week, according to research from the Office for National Statistics. Therefore, the role you play in your clients’ lives is so important – a kind and sensitive word from you, a trusted professional who can signpost them to support, could change their life.

Those experiencing abuse may not tell anyone for several reasons. Abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual, harassing, coercion or control. Does one of your regular clients appear withdrawn or anxious? Are they more careful getting on and off the treatment couch? These signs could indicate that something’s not right.

Some abusing behaviours may affect their appointments. They may not show up or have to cancel due to injury or control, and with experience, you tune into genuine-sounding reasons for these events. You may also notice when they are in salon they have to respond to text messages right away or get home quickly and seem anxious about it.

Behind the Mask offers hair and beauty professionals free access to online learning to help them to spot the signs that someone is experiencing domestic abuse and respond in the best way. With some insight, our relationships with clients may reveal what’s hidden behind their mask.

Julie Knight is founder of Behind The Mask.