Staff at hair and beauty salons in West Norfolk could be a “lifeline” for women suffering domestic abuse.
As victims often confide in beauty staff, a King’s Lynn-based charity is encouraging salons to sign up to its “Paint it Purple” campaign to support women and children affected by domestic abuse.
The Pandora Project said the pandemic had seen a decrease in victims asking for help because they weren’t able to do so safely but referrals to the charity then increased by 50 per cent after the initial lockdown was lifted.
“During lockdown things went quiet because people were not able to safely ask for help and support. We are still feeling the impact and we have a waiting list,” said a charity spokesman.
Salons have already pledged support to the Paint it Purple initiative which will run throughout next month, when the charity will celebrate its eighth birthday.
Businesses will display posters in their windows, donate money for each purple hair or nail treatment and use the hashtag #PaintItPurplePandora online.
Some salon staff have also signed up to complete online domestic abuse awareness training, which includes how to spot signs of domestic abuse and how to handle a disclosure.
“Evidence shows that beauty workers can act as a lifeline to those affected by domestic abuse.
“Pandora Project recognises the essential role of educating and empowering those in the beauty industry, in raising awareness of domestic abuse and supporting those who experience it,” the spokesman said.
Any businesses taking part will be given a donation jar and purple ribbons to wear and sell to customers during September.
“This is a fun way to get across a very serious message. Women living with abusive partners often feel very alone and are often very isolated.
“We are hoping this campaign will encourage women to reach out for support, helping them to realise they are not alone and that life without abuse is possible.
“In England and Wales, two women a week are killed by their current or former partner.
“By supporting this campaign, you will be standing up to this endemic problem within our society and will help to empower women to change their lives,” the spokesman added.
The charity offered support online during lockdown and this will continue as many women find it works well for them. From September, face-to-face support will restart, alongside the online help.
Lynn salons Envy in Purfleet Street and Beautique in St James Street were among the first to sign up to the campaign. To join them contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the charity go to the website www.pandoraproject.org.uk