Media Release: Domestic abuse support resources to be rolled out in over 2,500 hair and beauty salons across Ireland

  • New partnership between Women’s Aid and the Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation
  • Working to listen, believe and support women experiencing domestic abuse including coercive control

Monday 15th November 2021: A new partnership between Women’s Aid and the Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation (HABIC) that will see domestic abuse support resources being rolled out to over 2,500 hair and beauty salons across the country has been launched today (15th November 2021). The new partnership aims to build a greater understanding and knowledge of domestic violence and abuse among hair and beauty professionals, and to create awareness with salon customers and employees on the prevalence, nature of domestic abuse and support pathways that are available.

One in four women in Ireland in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner, according to EU research. From this week, HABIC member salons will receive packs containing resource materials to support and educate teams and clients, including posters outlining the ten common signs of domestic abuse. In addition to this, stickers will be displayed on mirrors containing QR codes that will direct salon customers to the 24hr National Freephone Helpline and the Women’s Aid website.

The partnership also aims to educate staff about how to recognise the signs of abuse, how to respond in a supportive way and how to signpost customers to the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline. In addition to this, information will be displayed in staff areas, to support salon employees that may be victims of abuse, as an estimated 88.9% of professionals working in hair and beauty are female.

Commenting on the partnership, Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid said: “We are delighted to partner with HABIC on this important initiative.  Hair and beauty businesses in local communities across the country can play a crucial role in raising awareness among those who may need support, including staff and clients.  When someone discloses that they are experiencing abuse, it can be difficult to know what to do.  Quite often people are afraid to say the wrong thing. Our campaign provides helpful resources on recognising abuse and how to respond in a supportive way.  We know that with the right information salon staff can make a difference in someone’s journey to safety.  We hope that women accessing these local spaces, who are experiencing abuse, will call the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline for information, support and referral to local domestic violence services, when needed.”

In 2020, 29,717 contacts were made with Women’s Aid’s frontline services, during which 24,893 disclosures of domestic abuse against women including coercive control were made. Support workers also heard 5,948 disclosures of abuse against children. The reality is that thousands of women are being subjected to high levels of emotional, physical, sexual and economic abuse every day, at the hands of the person who is supposed to care for and respect them. 

These statistics represent a 43% increase in the numbers of women reaching out to Women’s Aid for support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, CEO of HABIC added:“The relationship between clients and HABIC hairdressers and beauticians is one that is developed over time and is built on trust. From engagement with Women’s Aid, we understand that salon’s may be the only safe space for some women, away from an abusive behavior. Over the coming period, we will focus on supporting our members and to give staff confidence and resources to know how to respond when someone does confide in them. With a largely female workforce, we also want to ensure our members feel supported at work and can access the necessary supports if they need to. We look forward to working with the team at Women’s Aid going forward to listen to women, support and believe them.”


  • Please include support details: Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900
  • A spokesperson is available on request
  • Inquiries – Heneghan, Fiona Peppard – / (087)6354423
  • Photographs from the launch will be circulated by Paul Sharp, Sharppix, by 1pm, Monday 15th November 2021.  Email or call 0866689087,

About Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid is a leading national organisation that has been working to stop domestic violence in Ireland since 1974. We operate the 24hr National Freephone Helpline and national Instant Messaging Services on The National Freephone Helpline provides support in over 170+ languages and provides a listening ear, practical information and emotional support.  The service also acts as a gateway to all local domestic violence services and refuges across the country. We also act for justice and social change through our specialised training, public awareness campaigns and policy work.

 About HABIC

HABIC is a community-led non-profit membership organisation, with Members, Executive and Advisory Councils representing professionals, salons, manufacturers, distributors, schools and students. Our organisation is made up of highly skilled, passionate and committed individuals and organisations across a wide range of backgrounds, all working together to deliver national industry support. The collective experience, knowledge, wisdom and valuable time provided by all involved is essential as we achieve our goals and deliver real transformation and support for our industry. 

 Notes to editors:

Case Studies

Women’s Aid has built up a body of case studies that are based on real accounts as told to the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and Support Services. Specific details and circumstances have been changed in the interests of protecting identity and to preserve the confidential nature of Women’s Aid Services. Please note the case studies below must be attributed to Women’s Aid.

“I’d gone from being a strong, independent woman to this quivering wreck with no friends, no job, and no confidence.” Read Siobhán’s story »

“When I was pregnant he became more aggressive and violent, I was sick for the first three months and was tired all the time. I just wanted to sleep when I wasn’t working, but he said I was being selfish and insensitive to him.” Read Jane’s story »

“I have to walk on eggshells most of the time and have sex with him whenever he wants, just to keep him happy.” Read Suzanne’s story »

 “The first time my husband hit me was on our honeymoon.” Read Maureen’s story»