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Signal for Help

#SignalForHelp If you see the signal: Reach out. Listen. Respond.

  • REACH OUT: use another form of communication (text, WhatsApp, social media, email)
  • LISTEN: Ask yes or no questions.
  • RESPOND: Only call 911 if the survivor asks. Let the survivor tell you what they need, how you can help.


Signal For Help

The increase in domestic violence during the COVID crisis is undisputed and worldwide. We know that our global network, which includes most US states and 11 countries, is responding to the surge in gender-based violence in ways that are specifically tailored to their communities and in collaboration with trusted partners.

There are some issues, however, that cut across demographic and geographic differences. That’s why the Women’s Funding Network in connection with our member, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, launched the #SignalForHelp. The combination of increased isolation in quarantine, and increase in the use of video communication, created a critical need for a widely recognized, discrete, way a survivor could reach out for help. #SignalForHelp gives survivors of violence who are trapped at home with their abusers a discreet signal to use to get help.

The #SignalforHelp campaign is about offering a new tool for survivors, but it is also about teaching people who want to help, how to do so in a way that protects the safety and agency of the survivor. #SignalforHelp campaign helps bring gender-based violence out of the shadows. Now more than ever, we have to be vigilant and look out for each other.

#SignalForHelp is just one way in which WFN and our members are promoting justice and equality for women and girls. #SignalForHelp is an example of philanthropy in action and speaks to the importance of women’s and girls’ funds and foundations all over the world.

We are partnering with Futures Without Violence, RAINN, and global corporate partners including Salesforce, who will be sharing with their employees to accelerate adoption and awareness.

Download the Toolkit (English)


What To Do


If you see the signal, intervene safely keeping survivors’ wishes in mind. It is important not to take any action that will put survivors in danger. If possible, call them to ask if you can be a part of their safety plan and if there is something you can do for them. See links below to get educated on how to respond to domestic violence and the resources you can share with the survivor.

  1. REACH OUT. Use another form of communication such as text, social media, WhatsApp, or email and ask general questions. This may reduce risk if someone is watching the person’s device or accounts.
  2. LISTEN. Ask “yes” or “no” questions. This may reduce risk if someone is listening. For example:
    • Can I be a part of your safety plan?”
    • “Do you want me to call 911?”(ONLY CALL 911 if the survivor requests it)
    • “Would you like me to call a shelter on your behalf?” (Find a shelter in your community by visiting or contact your local women’s fund or foundation, link at bottom of page. 
    • “Do you want me to reach out to you regularly?”
    • “Should I look for some services that might help you and call you back?”
    • “How else can I support you?
  3. RESPOND. Do what the survivor asks of you. Only call 911 if the survivor asks. Let the survivor tell you what they need, how you can help. Find links to services below.


These websites list services, programs, and organizations in the United States. You can also look for other places to get help in your community using Google search. Try search terms like “crisis line”, “domestic violence”, “women’s shelter near me”:

Asian Community Focused

Differently Abled Focused

  • Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN) – DAWN provides crisis intervention services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind communities.
  • DeafLEAD– provides 24-hour crisis intervention services that are based on a problem-solving model to provide information and support to individuals in crisis with the goal of stabilizing emotions, clarifying issues and formulating an action plan.

Indigenous/Native American Focused

  • NIWRC – is a Native-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women and children.
  • Women’s Lodge – provides shelter for women and families suffering from domestic abuse and or sexual assault. In addition to shelter and food, services include: rape advocacy, support groups, legal advocacy, and referrals to other service agencies.
  • Strong Hearts –  is a culturally-appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.

Latinx Focused

  • Casa de Esperanza – Casa de Esperanza is a leader in the domestic violence movement and a national resource center for organizations working with Latin@s in the United States

Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay, Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming Focused

  • Anti-Violence Project (AVP)empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.

If you need help in Canada, go to The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s website.

For Media Inquiries Contact:
Kristin Kepplinger (212) 255-2575 or