National | Domestic violence

Barber owners aren't clinicians but clients seek their advice

Auckland barbershop owners have teamed up with a non-governmental organisation to help eliminate family and sexual violence as part of Minister Marama Davidson's national strategy.

While their job is to cut and style hair, they say clients have been relying on them for counselling.

Otara-based barbershop Rhythm and Barber owned by Jacob Keefe says his clients use his shop to discuss their personal issues.

“We are in contact with our community and men open up to us,” he says.

Now NGO Vision Collective has brought together other barber owners with similar experiences to look at what they hear in their daily job.

“We hear and see the best in people and now we're trying to create a safe space where we can help our community by keeping ourselves safe as well. “

The kaupapa is part of the government's national engagement where groups and communities put submissions towards a national strategy and action plans for family and sexual violence.

Submitters have up to the end of this month to put forward their views to the National Strategy and Action Plan to eliminate family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa.

Vision Collective general manager Letoa Jenkins says, “We're just sharing our korero with our teams so that their voices of our 'barberhood' can feed into the national strategy.”

While they are not clinicians, they are often the first respondents fulfilling a social worker-type support function by default for clients.

“We also recognised we need to be equipped and to be able to manage their health and well-being.”