ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York lawmakers are proposing a bill aimed at helping to combat domestic violence.
Across the country, an average of 20 people a minute will be victims of domestic violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A bill proposed in the New York Assembly would require beauty professionals to complete training on how to recognize signs of domestic violence as part of their license renewal.
Sitting in a hairdresser’s chair, customers are bound to tell the stylist just about anything.
“I think clients sitting in the chair feel very comfortable talking to them because it’s like a safe haven,” Ania Bickham said.
Bickham owns Ania Hair Salon on Western Avenue. She supports the bill that would require training to recognize signs of abuse.
“Anybody can see a sign and help prevent a tragedy,” she said. “I think it’s incredible.”
The bill hits close to home for Bickham. One of her stylists, Liza Warner, was killed by her husband in 2004.
“People still talk about her, miss her,” Bickham said. “I miss her every day.”
Warner’s mother, Martha Lasher-Warner, said the bill could save lives.
“There is so much that we as Liza’s family and friends knew nothing about,” she said.
Lasher-Warner said her daughter was hesitant to say anything about the abuse even when her husband attacked her a month before he killed her.
“He threw her on the bed and he tied her up and he raped her and tried to smother her,” Lasher-Warner said.
Lasher-Warner said a trust is built between stylists and clients.
“We feel comfortable,” she said. “We’re putting our hair and nails; our beauty in their hands.”
She knows if hair dressers, nail artists and others in beauty occupations were trained, it would make a big difference.
“So that they are aware of the subtle signs as well as the not so subtle signs of domestic abuse,” she said.
And knows that her daughter had that strong bond with her clients.
“She adored her clients, too,” she said. “She would not leave a client in the lurch.”
Bickham said she never realized Warner was in trouble.
“Now looking back, I see the signs,” she said. “But before then, we never put two and two together.”
Bickham hopes the bill can soon help others.
“Even one life, it’s worth it,” she said.
The bill would not require those in beauty professions to report signs of domestic violence but would train them on how to encourage their clients to get help.