Hairdressers, barbers and beauticians in Sutton will soon receive training on how to spot the signs of domestic abuse.

They will be offered the coaching as part of a new drive in the borough to tackle domestic abuse called Transform, Sutton.

The council's thought process behind this revolves around the idea that as people often share personal information with stylists and hairdressers that they might not discuss with family or friends.

Frank Di Lusso, owner of Frank Di Lusso Hair in Carshalton, said: “Being a hairdresser is like being a therapist.

"Awareness is everything and if people in the industry know how to approach the situation after the client divulges the information, I think that’s invaluable.”

The training being developed will help people know what to do if customers talk about domestic abuse or shows signs of physical, emotional or financial abuse and how to refer people for help as well as giving valuable information on local services available.

It comes after Sutton hairdressers, beauticians and students attended an event to find out more about the scheme and sign up for training, alongside the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales Nicole Jacobs.

The event was organised by the NHS locally and the Local Authority, with support from the area’s domestic abuse transformation board made up of a host of local organisations. 

These include Sutton Council, NHS Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group, Epsom Hospital and St Helier Hospital, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade, Sutton Community Action and secondary schools.

Ms Jacobs said: “Going for a haircut gives many people an opportunity to open up to somebody outside their social circle – somebody who they know, trust and is used to listening.

"That means hairdressers, barbers and beauty professionals are in a unique position.

"They may well be able to spot signs of abuse that others might not see and direct people to the services that can make a real difference and, in some cases, save lives.”

Once the training has been finalised following input from salon staff it will be provided through the Transform, Sutton initiative, which is led by charity Cranstoun.

Sutton Council has invested £1.25 million over three years, working alongside local schools, residents, volunteers, and organisations to deliver a comprehensive plan and public campaign – Not Alone in Sutton.

The new Transform service will provide support for victims of domestic abuse as well as offer help to perpetrators who want to change their behaviour.

Leader of the council, Ruth Dombey, said: "Sutton Council is determined to significantly reduce the levels of domestic abuse in our borough.

"We recognise that the best way to do this is by working closely with our partners from NHS organisations, the police, fire brigade, and local voluntary groups.

"We welcome this new approach with Transform, including the training with salon staff, which builds on the good work already being done. Sutton is a great place to live, work and raise a family and keeping everybody safe is our top priority."

In 2017, domestic violence accounted for 38 per cent of all incidents of violence with injury in Sutton – 467 out of 1,242. The number of reported domestic violence and abuse cases rose from 1,451 to 1,573 between 2017 and 2018.

Dr Jeff Croucher, lead GP in Sutton said “There is huge benefit to the NHS by coming together with partners to prevent domestic abuse occurring or to tackle it early on. We can help to reduce the number of people coming to GPs and A&E with serious injuries, as well preventing and reducing mental health issues for victims and their families”

For confidential free advice, get in touch with Transform, Sutton on 020 8092 7569 or