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May 14, 2013 12:14 PM

Tucson hair stylists learn how to help abuse victims

TUCSON - In a place where pretty much no topic is taboo there is one point of discussion that deserves maybe a little more attention than others.

The "Safety is Beautiful" program by Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse teaches hair stylists how to help a client who is suffering from abuse.

It was started in response to the death of Claudia Pascual in Febrary 2012. Pascual worked as a hair stylist at Transitions Hair Studio. She was allegedly shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend. "When this happened to her we wanted to do something really big to get the word out there," says Theresa Pugliese, a sales rep who works with a lot of Tucson salons.

In about an hour long session, the stylists learn to recognize, respond and refer clients who need help.

Statistics show one in every four women are victims of domestic abuse. "It's a great opportunity for someone they know, trust and see regularly, to have all the information necessary to help them, if that's something they might disclose and share with them," says Emerge! CEO Ed Mercurio-Sakwa.

The stylists say the training gives them confidence in how they approach a client's problem. "I think a lot of times they don't trust people around them and they need someone to talk to," says Cindy Derosier, owner of Hair and Company at 8650 E. Speedway.

So far Emerge! has visited five salons across Tucson, but it hopes to visit more.

For more information about the program, email outreach@emergecenter.org or contact Sarah Jiménez-Valdez at 520.795.8001

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