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For Immediate Release
March 7, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN KICKS OFF CUT IT OUT, A NEW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS PROGRAM


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. unveiled a new statewide domestic violence outreach campaign today at salons in Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties. Called CUT IT OUT, the program is designed to foster Maryland cosmetologists' unique access to women to provide victims of domestic violence information about how to get help they may desperately need.

“Domestic violence experts agree that one of the biggest challenges is finding these victims, who are often afraid to seek out help or do not know where to turn,” Attorney General Curran said. "The best resources in the world don't do any good if the people who need help don't know how to get it. Cosmetologists can be that critical link. CUT IT OUT gives us a new way to reach thousands of victims," said Curran.

The Attorney General, in partnership with the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence and the national CUT IT OUT program, which is sponsored by Southern Living At HOME, Clairol Professional, and the National Cosmetology Association, has developed educational materials for salon professionals to use in reaching out to clients who may be victims. “It’s a true partnership,” said Michaele Cohen, Executive Director for the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. “When the best of both the public and private sectors collaborate, the citizens of Maryland benefit the most.” The informational posters, brochures, and cards provide victims with information and where to get help, and educate salon professionals about the dynamics of domestic violence. The Attorney General will conduct training sessions around the State for salon professionals to learn more about the warning signs of domestic abuse and how to safely help clients they suspect may be victims. Training will also be conducted at private cosmetology schools and public high school cosmetology programs all over Maryland. “The program is not training counselors, “ Jennifer Jaquess, spokesperson for the national CUT IT OUT program said, “Cosmetologists are experienced listeners who will be given the tools to simply refer potential victims to help.”

Many women go to a hair stylist or a nail technician on a regular basis. The roughly 40,000 salon professionals in Maryland see on average 100-200 clients a month. Women also tend to form relationships with their cosmetologists, often confiding in them about personal aspects of their lives. Therefore these professionals are in a position, if they are attuned to the issue, to recognize warning signs of abuse, like hair that has been pulled out, bruising, or the overbearing presence of a controlling partner. Both the national and statewide statistics are staggering: a woman is battered by an intimate partner every 15 seconds in the United States, and 67 people were murdered by an intimate partner in Maryland between July 2003 and June 2004.

Attorney General Curran has been working on behalf of victims of domestic violence for most of his many decades of public service. This latest effort grew out of similar initiatives undertaken by Attorneys General in other states.

For more information on this program go to the Attorney General’s website at www.oag.state.md.us and click on CUT IT OUT Program listed under Quick Links on the main page. If you are interested in participating in this program call 1-866-298-8245. If you need more information about domestic violence or need to speak with an expert contact the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence at 1-301-352-4574.

 

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