CANADIAN WOMEN’S FOUNDATION | SIGNAL FOR HELP
The Signal For Help aimed to combat the rise in domestic violence resulting from pandemic-induced lockdowns, by providing victims with a simple and safe way to communicate with the outside world. The inspiration for the tool came from our near-instantaneous shift to video calls. We called it the Signal For Help – an untraceable one-handed gesture designed as a continuous hand movement that could be made easily visible over video calls. It involves holding your hand up to the camera with your thumb tucked into your palm, folding your fingers down and trapping your thumb in your fingers. It means, “reach out to me safely.” As a silent gesture, it could be understood in any language, allowing it to scale globally.
With 0 dollars spent on media, Signal For Help garnered an estimated 4.9 billion organic impressions, resulting in an estimated total earned media value of over $45 million. The signal appeared in over 1,459 media articles in over 45 countries. It caught the attention of organizations globally, with 250+ sharing or adapting the signal. As of February 2022, according to an omnibus survey, 40% of Canadians report having seen ads or information about the Signal For Help, and 9% report seeing it used or using it directly. While success is typically measured by metrics such as impressions or sales, Signal For Help presents a new metric – lives saved. As of April 2022, we know of five real-life situations globally where the Signal For Help was used to save victims from harm: by Syrian YouTuber Om Sayf in Turkey, an abducted teenager in Kentucky, two women in Spain, and most recently, a woman in Tennessee. On November 8th 2021, following the incident in Kentucky, website traffic to Canadianwomen.org spiked 2550% in a single day, from an average of 2,000 to 51,000 sessions.