Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program and the Department of Children and Families will team with Halo Salon in Chipley to train hair and nail salons on how to combat sexual assault and human trafficking.
The training program is scheduled for October 23 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Halo Salon in Chipley.
After recently attending the class in Panama City, Halo Salon owner Celie Land knew she needed to bring this to the Tri-County area.
â€œDuring the class we were given a wealth of information and resources to help our clients who are in unsafe or abusive situations,â€ said Land. â€œThis would be beneficial, as many of our clients tend to confide in us about very personal issues. We need to be equipped to help them.â€
The program aims to equip salon professionals with the knowledge and skills to support survivors of sexual assault and identify potential human trafficking victims.
The class includes five training objectives:
- Supporting survivors with compassion – The training will focus on teaching salon staff how to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors of sexual assault who may visit their establishments. Participants will learn effective communication techniques to offer immediate emotional support and connect survivors with local resources, including counseling and crisis intervention services.
- Recognizing the signs of human trafficking -Â Salon professionals will be educated on the red flags and indicators of human trafficking. This includes understanding unusual behaviors, visible signs of physical abuse, and signs of coercion or manipulation that may suggest a person is being trafficked.Â
- Reporting suspected cases – The program will emphasize the importance of reporting suspicions to the appropriate authorities, such as local law enforcement or human trafficking hotlines. Salon staff will be trained on the procedures for making confidential reports and ensuring the safety of potential victims.
- Community awareness and prevention – In addition to individual salon training, Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program will work with participating salons to create awareness campaigns and distribute educational materials to their clients. This community-wide effort aims to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault and human trafficking and encourages vigilance.
- Continual support -Â Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program is committed to providing ongoing support and resources to participating salons. This includes access to counselors and experts who can offer guidance and assistance when needed.
“We believe that local businesses, like hair and nail salons, play a crucial role in creating safer communities,” said Sonya Lowe, program coordinator for the Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program. “By training salon professionals to recognize the signs of sexual assault and human trafficking, we hope to create a network of informed and compassionate individuals who can help survivors and potentially save lives.”
Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program encourages all salons in the area to participate in this essential and free program.
For more information or to register for the training program, contact Marcia Croom 850-866-2135 or the Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Facebook Page.
Diane M. Moore contributed to this report.