Signal for Help Responder at Work

Employee groups, HR professionals and workplace leaders have an important role to play in ending gender-based violence. If you identify with one or more of these categories, you can engage employees, and build workplace support and safety by joining the more than 50,000 people across Canada who have become Signal for Help Responders.

The “Signal for Help” is a tool to help those experiencing gender-based violence, created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. It signifies “reach out to me safely” and it’s an especially important tool for workplaces, since 35.4% of workers report knowing at least one co-worker who they believe experienced domestic abuse (Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children and Canadian Labour Congress, 2014).

When you Become a Signal for Help Responder at Work, employees in your workplace will learn:

  • How to recognize that a coworker might be dealing with abuse
  • What to say or do to support a coworker who discloses abuse
  • Where to refer survivors in your workplace to helpful and reliable support services at work or in their community

The Signal for Help Responder at Work tools can help foster a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.

Ready to get started?
Here’s what you can do in your workplace:

Image text: The signal for help responder workplace guide. Image visual: Three icons showing the signal for help: step 1, open palm; step 2, tuck thumb; step 3, trap thumb.

1. Sign up to be a Signal for Help Responder at work

You’ll receive the downloadable, quick-reference “Signal for Help Responder’s Workplace Action Guide” and enroll in an email learning series.

2. Take the Signal for Help Responder Online Mini Course

The online mini course is free and flexible and includes a “How Do I Respond at Work” learning unit. Complete all 7 units in 60 minutes, or one unit at a time at your own pace.

3. Receive a 60-minute “Signal for Help Responders at Work” virtual training

Learn how to respond to the Signal for Help and make your workplace a safe place for people experiencing abuse.

4. Participate in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Complete each action (and encourage employees to do it too!) from November 25th to December 10th and share your activities on social media using the hashtags #SignalForHelpResponder #16Days #GenderBasedViolence

5. Create a Custom Signal for Help Responder at Work Campaign

We’ll help you build a custom Signal for Help campaign that fits your workplace’s specific needs and interests. We can provide customized virtual presentations, one-on-one support, digital graphics, and more.

The Facts:

  • Gender-based violence affects workers and workplaces every day. 
  • 81.6% of survivors of gender-based violence disclose the situation to coworkers.
  • For workers who face abuse at home, 81.9% report a negative impact on their performance.
  • Canadian employers lose $77.94 million every year due to the direct and indirect consequences of gender-based violence.

If you see the Signal for Help:

1. Reach out to the person safely.

2. Be supportive: acknowledge their experience, listen, and let them tell you what they need.

3. Refer them to services or offer resources, as needed.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance).

This project has been funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada.

Women and Gender Equality Canada