Zoom Meeting with attendees from the Cut It Out Program
MEDFORD – As part of the Middlesex District Attorney’s ongoing commitment to addressing the issue of domestic violence during the COVID-19 crisis, District Attorney Marian Ryan addressed cosmetology students from Medford Vocational Technical High School yesterday on ways to spot signs of domestic violence and how to safely refer clients to local community service providers as part of the Cut It Out Middlesex Program.
District Attorney Ryan was joined by State Representatives Christine Barber, Paul Donato and Sean Garballey; School Superintendent Dr. Edouard-Vincent and Assistant Principal Cherose Walker from the Medford Public Schools; Medford Police Detective Jim Ricciardi; Cosmetology Instructor Lauren Sciarrata and Medford Public Schools Public Information Officer Lisa Evangelista.
Students attending yesterday’s training learned the importance of educating salon professionals, who are in a unique position to observe physical injuries on their clients’ heads, faces, arms, and hands — signs that may point to domestic violence. Because they tend to build long-standing relationships with their clients, salon professionals may also serve as a client’s confidante, offering a window of opportunity to intervene when domestic violence is made known or suspected.
In an effort to expand Cut It Out training across the Commonwealth, District Attorney Ryan has partnered with State Representative Christine Barber to spearhead legislation that would require licensed aestheticians, barbers, cosmetologists, electrologists, hairdressers, manicurists, and massage therapists to complete domestic violence and sexual assault awareness training.
This training is part of the public-private partnership started by District Attorney Ryan in 2009 to bring the national domestic violence prevention program Cut It Out to high school vocational programs, professional training academies and private salons across Middlesex County. The program also introduces and aligns participants with domestic violence service agencies, as well as specialized domestic violence officers from local police departments. To date, District Attorney Ryan has trained over 2,500 individuals through the Cut It Out Program.
Domestic violence is a major public safety and public health issue, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. According to The World Health Organization some reports indicate that calls to domestic violence helplines, police and shelters are increasing during the COVID-19 outbreak. In other cases, reporting, calls and service use are decreasing as women find themselves unable to leave the house or access help online or via telephone. This new bill recognizes the value of expanding education about domestic violence and sexual assault in a community setting.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office launched a dedicated line for domestic violence victims that provides the opportunity for victims in non-emergency situations to have live interaction with an advocate in the District Attorney’s Office. Victims can now reach an advocate during regular office hours (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) via text message at 781-281-4066. The line is not monitored 24/7 and is NOT an emergency line.
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