There are a few habits elderly individuals keep up as long as they can. One of these is heading to the salon or barber to have their hair cut. Many elderly men and women rely on this routine not only to maintain their hygiene and preferred style, but also to maintain their social connections. Many individuals have gone to the same salon or shop for years. Now, with California’s new law, the salon professionals working with these men and women will be in a better position to notice signs of elder abuse and neglect.
California AB 326
In late September, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 326, which requires the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) to develop and adopt a course that covers physical and sexual abuse awareness for all of their licensees by July 1, 2019. Under the new law, physical and sexual abuse includes domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and elder abuse. This information must be taught in schools approved by the BBC just like other health and safety courses that cover hazardous substances and basic labor laws. This new requirement will impact approximately 550,000 professionals, including barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists, and more.
What This Means for the Elderly
This new law recognizes that there is often an established relationship of trust between customers and their hairdressers or barbers. The shop is a safe environment to discuss difficult matters. By speaking with a stylist or barber, the customer has someone slightly separated from his or her family or professional lives who may have another helpful point of view, or at the very least, offers a caring ear to listen.
With this new type of education, individuals licensed by the BBC may be better attuned to the signs of abuse, including elder abuse and neglect. They may be better able to interpret what they are seeing and hearing as evidence of abuse or neglect, when before they might not have noticed. This adds another layer of protection for elderly individuals who may have a difficult time admitting to an emotional, traumatic, and dangerous situation. The training will also give these professionals the tools to offer support and refer their client to an organization that can help.
Barbers and Stylists Will Not be Mandatory Reporters
While many types of professionals are mandatory reporters under California law, individuals licensed by the BBC will not be. These professionals will not be required to report their suspicions of violence, abuse, or trafficking to the police. Since there is no mandatory reporting requirement, these licensees cannot be held responsible for any injuries that are suffered after not going to the police. Instead, the purpose of the training is to give these professionals the tools to offer assistance and support when they notice these signs.
Do You Need an Elder Abuse Attorney?
One of the ways in which salon and barber professionals can help elderly individuals who are being neglected, harmed, or taken advantage of is to direct them to an experienced California elder neglect and abuse attorney at the Brod Law Firm. We are here to review a senior’s situation and advise them on their rights and legal options.
Call us today at (800) 427-7020 to schedule a free consultation.
(image courtesy of Dan Gold)