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Building Women’s Health Means Ensuring Safety from Abuse

Jan02, 2023

Every six days. On average, that’s how often a woman in Canada is killed by an intimate partner. And this rate of femicide has gone up over the past two years.

Gender-based violence like sexual assault and intimate partner abuse is one of the biggest threats to women’s health and well-being. Given that it spikes in times of crises — pandemics, economic downturns, fires, floods — it’s even more of an urgent issue today.

From silence and stigma to support

In Canada, two-thirds of us know a woman who has experienced abuse, but only one in five is confident we’d know how to support them. Almost a quarter of people say partner abuse is “none of my business if it doesn’t directly involve me.”

Abuse survivors often turn to loved ones for help. We must be willing and able to support them, offering referrals to services in a non-judgmental stance. Lives depend on it.

The Signal for Help is a silent hand gesture we launched in 2020, anticipating spikes in abuse rates we’ve seen in Canada. It can enable you to ask for help without leaving a digital trace.

But a signal is only as effective as its response. We need everyone to know how to respond when they see someone using it, or when they see any sign or signal of abuse.

Become a Signal for Help responder

When you sign up to become a Signal for Help responder, you get helpful tools and resources to learn how to confidently offer your support.

The community of Signal for Help Responders is now over 40,000 strong. But we need a critical mass of people to be part of this shift to end abuse. We need you.


Paulette Senior, President and CEO, Canadian Women’s Foundation


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