Bill AB326 to provide training for abuse victims


Melissa Puryear

Milan Instructor Rebecca Torres speaks to Phase 1 students during cosmetology training class.

Melissa Puryear, Reporter

The new Domestic Violence Prevention Bill, AB326, was introduced into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on September 27 and will go into effect in all barbering and cosmetology schools across California by July 1, 2019.
Assemblyman Rudy Salas, coauthored the bill which requires these schools to provide students the training and resources to identify all types of abuse, to include elder abuse and human trafficking as part of the licensure process to become a professional. The one-hour training on domestic violence and abuse will allow students to recognize the signs in the course of their work and will also allow students, as professionals, to share resources with their clients, when needed or upon request.
The bill will also bring student awareness to these sensitive areas they may encounter in their line of work, where oftentimes industry professionals are confided in about abuse by their clients whom they have built trusting relationships with.
Salas said earlier this year in a press release concerning the AB326 Bill that “these professionals can serve a unique role in spotting signs of abuse and connecting victims that wish to seek out services with the appropriate resources.” Salas also said that training is the key to being able to recognize abuse and provide the “compassionate support to victims and connect them to safe resources they need to heal from the abuse.”
Prior to the bill, professionals were in the role of listener, yet would not be able to offer full guidance. This bill makes guidance, intervention, and assistance now possible.
Marla Bermudez, Dean of Education at Milan Institute of Cosmetology, which is a student salon and spa, said that without the bill, her students were only permitted to provide resources upon request.
With the new law in effect it allows students to provide resources when their clients confide that they are an abusive relationship. Bermudez said that by having the bill protect her students when they share resources with victims, it will make her students feel more comfortable. In fact, the bill gives that level of protection to the schools, students and professionals because sharing resource information will now give authority to carry out a reliable course of action that will help those being abused. The Director of Education at Milan will be responsible for handing down the modules to be implemented in this training according to Bermudez. Bermudez is currently working with the Alliance Against Family Violence to set up a training classes for their students.
Gia Murielo, the prevention education supervisor at the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, a non-profit organization that provides resources to those trapped in abusive relationships, said that with this new law in place, there is a possibility of an increase in referrals to their organization. They are able to provide the much needed services that those who have been referred to their organization will need in order to escape the abuse and its cycle.
The Alliance provides a wide range of services from assigning a case manager to those who have been abused, to counseling, long term transitional housing to licensed child care and helping the undocumented escape their abusers. The services are free and private. Currently, The Alliance has provided 237 people anonymous housing, and 60 children with anonymous housing and childcare. The Alliance also provides free domestic violence awareness presentations to those organizations and businesses that would need their expertise.
According to Lucile Packard Foundation, a program aimed at the “health and well-being of children in communities across California … an estimated 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the U.S. have experienced intimate partner violence.” However, these estimates are uncertain because according to the foundation, many incidences of violence go unreported.