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​Innovative scheme trains students to cut out domestic abuse


Hairdressing and beauty students from Hopwood Hall College have been trained to spot signs of domestic abuse.

Cut It Out Rochdale is a borough-wide initiative training people in hair and beauty salons to have conversations around domestic abuse. The programme, which is run by Rochdale Borough Council, has been launched with the training of 90 hairdressing and beauty students from Hopwood Hall College.

Hair & Beauty Cut it Out certificates

The College is the largest education provider in the borough, providing over 200 courses for around 6,000 learners, from entry level to foundation degrees at their two campuses in Middleton and Rochdale town centre.

Rates of domestic abuse and related homicides are higher in Rochdale than the England average and last year, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) dealt with over 4000 incidents of domestic violence incidents in the borough.

Community-based interventions like the Cut It Out Rochdale programme enable early identification and early help which are vital in creating a society which has a zero tolerance to domestic abuse and ultimately reduces harm.

Jaria Hussain-lala, Early Help Domestic Abuse Officer at Rochdale Council, said: “For many women, hairdressers and beauty salons are safe, female-only spaces where they are at ease and salons become environments where victims can confide in stylists who they trust.

“With proper training on how to safely refer victims to help, salon professionals can become invaluable and influential in reducing the impact of domestic abuse and ensuring victims know someone is listening.”

Liz Fisher, Programme Manager for Hair & Beauty courses at Hopwood Hall College, said: “This is such an important initiative for the borough and one which our students were keen to get involved in. The training has been really informative and the harsh reality that one in four of our students’ future clients will be victims of domestic abuse has been particularly hard-hitting for our students who are now keen to put their training into practice.”

The training sessions have been led by the council’s domestic abuse team alongside professionals from local services including Victim Support, Rochdale Connections Trust, and Talk, Listen and Change.

Participants are taught about domestic abuse, how to spot the signs, and the services available across the borough. Salons are provided with information on local services to use as they feel appropriate.

Following the success of the college programme Rochdale Borough Council has an open offer to salons for a one-off training session, at a location local to their salon, which five salons have already signed up to. There will be a three month follow up with all participating salons to offer further support and to understand if the sessions have led to conversations.

Upon completing the training all stylists receive a pin badge which they are encouraged to wear whilst at work, so women may recognise the badge to prompt a conversation on the topic, and a certificate of participation.

Rochdale Borough Council is offering the training and resources to salons across the borough for free. For further information please email or visit

Victim Support runs a national support line which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 08 08 16 89 111.