A campaign has been set up to train hairdressers and nail technicians to spot signs of domestic abuse.

The J9 community champion network initiative was launched in St Albans yesterday (Monday, November 25).

The national campaign was set up by the family of Janine Mundy in Cornwall, after the mother-of-two was killed by her estranged husband in 2003.

It will focus on enabling workers at high street businesses such as nail bars, hairdressers, cafes and general shops to help victims of domestic abuse.

Staff will be trained to spot signs of abuse and how to give out advice, so their clients know where to seek help.

Jenny Coles, chairman of Hertfordshire County Council's domestic abuse executive board, said: “Domestic abuse rarely involves a ‘one-off’ incident.

"More usually it is a pattern of coercive, forced or controlling behaviour by one person or group over another.

“Abuse can begin at any stage of a relationship, sometimes continuing after a relationship has ended.

“We want to have stickers in the windows of these shops so people know walking in the staff have information about where they can go for help.”

Staff will be able to access advice if they are growing concerned of a person who may be suffering domestic abuse.

Ms Coles added: “People go into shops all the time and we want to focus on areas where women go.

“It takes victims a while before they can report it to the police. Increasingly men are coming forward, hence we are looking at place men go such as barbers.

“Domestic abuse affects a range of people regardless of gender, class, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or lifestyle.”

In the UK domestic abuse is known to affect one in six men and one in four women during their life.

But only one in five people are known to report their incidents to the police.

Ms Coles said: “People do a good job of covering up what happens at home. People should look out for those who appear upset or have visible injuries.

“Sometimes they may have a break down if something recently has happened.

“Our aim is to make Hertfordshire J9 a recognised symbol of hope, so it becomes as simple as possible for people who are suffering to seek help in confidence.”

For more information about the initiative or to register interest email championsnetwork@hertsdomesticabusehelpline.org.

Information and advice for domestic abuse services in Hertfordshire can be found at www.hertssunflower.org.