Create a Safer Space for People Experiencing Abuse

People don’t often talk about gender-based violence, and don’t always know how to respond to it — but it can show up in our everyday lives; including our workplaces and community spaces.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation created the Signal for Help (a simple one-handed gesture that means “I need you to check in with me safely”), to shift the culture of stigma around gender-based violence to one of support.

But we knew it was also essential to provide excellent tools and resources for workplaces, community groups, non-profits, unions, and associations to help make our workplaces and community spaces safer places for people experiencing abuse.

When you Become a Workplace Signal for Help Responder, you will learn:

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

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

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. 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

      • In 2022, 184 women and girls were violently killed, primarily by men. One woman or girl is killed every 48 hours.
      • Two thirds (65%) of people in Canada know a woman who has experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
      • 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.

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