Screening at hair salons: The feasibility of using community resources to screen for intimate partner violence

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a source of severe health consequences, and therefore, health care organizations have recommended routine IPV screening. Implementing health-related screenings outside of health care facilities is common public health practice, but to date, IPV screening in hair salons has not been reported. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of IPV among women at hair salons. We hypothesized that women would disclose IPV in this setting and that rates of abuse would reflect national averages.

METHODS

We recruited a convenience sample of hair salons in Connecticut in 2014. Hair stylists were trained on how to recognize and refer IPV victims. Self-reported IPV of salon clients was measured by a tablet-based validated screening tool, the Patient Satisfaction and Safety Survey.

RESULTS

Overall, reported past-year prevalence of physical abuse was 3.6%, past-year prevalence of sexual abuse was 2.7%, lifetime prevalence of emotional or physical abuse was 34.2%, and 5.3% of the sample reported that they had been hurt that day by their current or former partner. Past-year physical abuse was more common among women 30 years to 39 years old (9.1%), black (9%), and single women (7.5%). Past-year sexual abuse was more common among women 20 years to 29 years old (13.8%), other races (6.7%), and single women (5.4%). Lifetime abuse was more common among women 50 years to 59 years old (13.8%), black (36.1%), and divorced women (69.7%). Hurt-today abuse was more common among women younger than 20 years (12.5%), other races (13.3%), and women in common law relationships (25%).

CONCLUSION

Women in our study reported IPV prevalence rates consistent with national data. Documentation of IPV prevalence in hair salons will provide much-needed support for novel interventions such as CUT IT OUT, a national program designed to train hair stylists on how to recognize and refer IPV victims.

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