Canadian artists draw attention to Signal for Help campaign and domestic violence

Canadian artists draw attention to Signal for Help campaign and domestic violence

Alanna Cavanagh's "Signal for Help" is seen in an undated handout image. A group of 16 Canadian artists have reinterpreted the "Signal for Help" as part of an art campaign aimed at raising awareness for the single-hand gesture. The "Signal for Help" was introduced as a way for people experiencing domestic violence to discreetly communicate over video call that they would like someone to check on them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alanna Cavanagh, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

TORONTO — A group of 16 Canadian artists is getting behind a social media campaign to raise awareness of hand gestures that may be used by people experiencing abuse in the home.

For the “Signal for Help” campaign, timed for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, each artist created their own interpretation of hand gestures a domestic abuse victim may use when seeking help.

The campaign was introduced earlier this year as a way for people to discreetly communicate over video call that they would like someone to check on them.

The Instagram artwork intends to draw more attention to the concept, in hopes that users will tag five of their friends on social media, exposing the symbolic hand gesture to more people.

The United Nations has called violence against women and girls during the COVID-19 crisis a “shadow pandemic,” as social isolation and concerns over health, safety and financial security increase tension.

A Statistics Canada analysis recently found that while reports of assaults by family members dropped between March and June, calls to police related to domestic disturbances increased by nearly 12 per cent.

It says such disputes could involve “anything from a verbal quarrel to reports of violence.”

Several measures, dubbed “silent solutions” by one researcher, have been introduced in different regions around the world to address the rise in domestic violence.

A study by Lori Weeks, a gerontologist at Dalhousie University’s School of Nursing, outlined some of the creative ways to communicate.

In France, “App-Elles” is a phone app that allows women and girls to alert three trusted contacts when they’re being attacked, sending their GPS coordinates to them.

Other methods have included using a specific code word at the pharmacy or purchasing a certain item in a grocery store.

The artists who volunteered their time to the “Signal for Help” campaign include:

● Saffron Francis (@saffron_francis)

● Carissa Potter Carlson (@peopleiveloved)

● Fathima Mohiuddin (@fatspatrol)

● Ruth Saparito (@inbetweenrinks)

● Alanna Cavanagh (@alanna_cavanagh)

● Sarah Rotenberg (@sarahrotenberg)

● Jacqueline Veltri (@jvel22, @elainefleckgallery)

● Carmen Jane Lew (@carmenjanelew)

● Ebrin Bagher (@ebrin.bagher)

● Madison van Rijn (@mvralldayeveryday)

● Angela Schneider (@angela.artattack)

● Lindsay Chambers (@lindsaychamberspainting)

● Dani Cooperman (@danicooperman)

● Yaw Tony (@yawtony)

● Steph Cheng (@iamstephcheng)

● Joanna Czub (@asiaczub, @elainefleckgallery)

● Jacki Lang – project curator (

This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Conservatives push for parliamentary committee study into failed vaccine deal

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are calling for a parliamentary committee to… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
Pregancy Care Centre seeks support through online fundraiser

The annual banquet was cancelled, due to the pandemic

(Red Deer Advocate file photo).
Registrations for Red Deer rec programs delayed

Sign-up for sports and culture programs starts Jan. 12

(Red Deer Advocate file photo).
Red Deer County seeks public feedback on draft budget

Minimal impact on ratepayers was the goal

(Advocate file photo).
RDC’s The Nutcracker is being videotaped for online viewing

COVID-19 presents challenges for live performance

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Toronto police respond to an incident at St. Michael’s College School, in Toronto, Nov. 19, 2018. The trial of a teen accused of sexually assaulting two students at a prestigious Toronto high school is set to resume today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trial resumes for teen accused in St. Michael’s College School sex assault case

Defence lawyers for a teen accused of sexually assaulting two students at… Continue reading

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The Trump administration is keeping silent about Canada blocking its plan to import prescription drugs from north of the border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trump admin silent after Hajdu pushes back on U.S. plan to raid Canada’s drug cabinet

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration is keeping silent about Canada blocking… Continue reading

Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume, right, speaks at the inauguration of a memorial to the 2017 mosque shooting, Tuesday, December 1, 2020 in Quebec City. From the left, Luce Pelletier, artist who designed the memorial, MP Joel Lightbound, Boufeldja Benabdallah, and MNA Joelle Boutin.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec City’s memorial to 2017 mosque shooting victims symbolizes defeat of hatred

Quebec City has inaugurated a memorial to the victims of the 2017… Continue reading

A scene from last year’s Light the Night fundraiser at the Stettler Town and Country Museum. This year’s rendition is on a drive-through basis only, but it still promises to be a not-to-be-missed seasonal highlight. (Independent file photo)
Stettler Town and Country Museum hosts ‘Light the Night’

This year’s rendition is drive-through only, but will still prove to be a dazzling display

Alberta restaurants face new regulations aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, Photo from Trolley 5 Brewery and Restaurant Facebook page
Restaurants working under new restrictions Central Alberta

Starting last Friday, any area in the province with more than 50… Continue reading

Opinion piece
Opinion: A down payment on recovery, details to come

Just to be clear: Justin Trudeau’s government has not acquired the ability… Continue reading

(Black Press File Photo)
Rimbey woman gathering Christmas gifts for seniors at Valleyview Manor

Margaret Tanasiuk says she doesn’t want anyone to feel forgotten on Christmas morning

Mike Miltimore, seen in Kamloops, B.C., in an undated handout photo, says the Gretsch electric guitar that a woman brought into his store is from 1955 and similar to one played by country music legend Chet Atkins before he developed his signature series of guitars. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Mike Miltimore
Guitar made in 1950s worth more than B.C. family imagined

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — When Renee Latheur decided to take an old guitar… Continue reading

Most Read