Domestic abuse continues to be in the media spotlight, and is unfortunately very much a part of normal daily life for many women, children and men in society. 

The abuser often acts in a pre-mediated way. First, a close relationship is established with the victim. In this phase of the relationship, the intended victim is usually treated with affection and care. The second phase typically involves isolating the victim from their friends and family, giving them, in effect, nobody they know to turn to in a time of crisis. The third phase is often when the abuser makes the victim lose confidence in themselves and their self worth by constant criticism and belittling. The fourth phase is then when the abuse then typically starts. The victim has been deprived of those people they would normally turn to, left with no confidence or self worth, and the only person they have a relationship with is the abuser.  

Opportunities to speak to individuals outside the home environment, in the absence of the abuser, are often deliberately limited by the abuser. Therefore, a medical or hairdresser appointment may be the only time the victim is able to speak freely and not in the presence of the abuser.

This initiative for Cardiff hairdressers and barbers to take the time to try to identify and recognise the symptoms of domestic abuse and to support these victims is much welcomed. The potential for these actions to make a real difference to the lives of victims is huge. 

We must all do what we can to help recognise and support victims of domestic abuse, let them know that they are not alone, and provide or signpost them with the support and encouragement they need to move forward to a life free from abuse.