Signal For Help for Domestic Abuse Online

Posted: 14/01/2021

The social isolation measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic are making it more difficult for those who are at risk of abuse or violence to safely reach out for help. “Signal for Help” is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on a video call. It can help a person silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way.

There’s ample evidence that disaster situations can lead to a surge in gender-based violence. Public health directives on home isolation might increase danger and risk for people in abusive relationships.The Signal for Help is a tool that may help some people, some of the time. Some people do not have the ability to make video calls. Please find other resources, services, and programmes  that may be helpful in an unsafe situation at home here.

The Signal for Help was launched by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in response to COVID-19, and is now being shared by partner organizations around the world. If you are an organization that would like to launch Signal for Help in your own country or region, get in touch with us at [email protected].


If you see someone use the Signal for Help, check in with the person safely to find out what they need and want you to do. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999, 911, 112 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance).

What if someone can't use the signal? 

There are many other resources, services, and programs listed here that may be helpful in an unsafe situation at home. If you suspect that someone you know is in danger and can’t use the sign, you can still safely check-in using the tips above. It’s important that when you reach out, you determine what the person who may be experiencing violence needs and wants you to do. Someone in an unsafe situation is the expert on what is safest for them.

What if an abuser learns about the signal?

As the signal is shared and becomes known by the public, there is a risk that an abuser might learn about it. People in abusive situations are also often closely monitored by the person harming them, and they may not always feel safe enough to use the signal. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone facing abuse. Everyone faces their own unique circumstance. The Signal for Help is one tool some people may be able to use, some of the time, to indicate they need help without leaving a digital trace.It is important that people reach out for support if and when they feel ready, and they should do it in the ways that feel safest for them. People supporting them should be ready to help without judgement, and they should follow the lead of the person who needs help.

Please share Signal for Help on social media and help get the word out! Take a look at the video, which explains it all. 

With thanks for the article in original posted here.

Photo; with thanks to Choice Support

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