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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Signal for Help/Appel à l’aide Podcast

Finalist in Podcast


Gender-based violence is a crisis in Canada. Every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. We also know that disaster situations and other crises can lead to spikes in gender-based violence; we saw this with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re seeing it now with the concurrent mental health and cost of living crises.

Many people recognize that gender-based violence is a problem, and want to support survivors in their lives, but there’s a lot of stigma and silence around gender-based violence in our society: too many people who experience abuse are shamed, silenced, and stigmatized, and too many people don’t feel confident and competent in supporting them

We made “Signal for Help” (in English), and its companion “Appel à l’aide” (in French), to change that. Named after the viral, award-winning Signal for Help gesture, this podcast gives listeners simple and practical tools that empower us all to help people in our own lives.

Each week through interviews, we feature courageous stories and experiences from survivors and experts, and explore how we can all meaningfully support people who have experienced abuse: through validation, active listening, and a survivor-led approach.

Because when we know how to respond to the signs of abuse, we can help change someone’s story. Ending gender-based violence will take all of us. 

Strategy and Execution

Guided by trauma-informed approaches to storytelling, we started with sourcing interview guests known as “survivor advocates”: experts who could speak on behalf of survivors, or survivors with previous experience healing and sharing publicly. From there, we implemented voluntary, informed consent that could be withdrawn at different points, access to support services along the way, and compassionate interviewing techniques—all to reduce the risk of exploiting and re-traumatizing guests. We also share frequent content notes to create a safe environment for listeners. 

Every episode follows an interview-style format featuring incredible stories and actionable tools — so listeners can go from being a bystander to a responder when someone signals that they need help. We cover the often-hidden crisis that is gender-based violence through an intersectional lens, highlighting personal stories and professional experiences from those most at-risk, including: young people; Black and racialized women; women living in rural and remote areas; newcomer women; and Indigenous women.

We created the podcast in English and French to widely serve as many people as possible, particularly in Canada. Both versions are informed by the same vision, but individually tailored to best serve English and French audiences in culturally-relevant ways. Specifically:

Released weekly over March-May 2023, the podcast was largely promoted through a paid advertising campaign on major audio and video vendors, paid social media advertising, earned media features, and various organic methods. All episodes are available wherever you get your podcast content (English / French).


To date, the podcast has 8,000 downloads: approximately 6,600 English downloads, and 1,400 French downloads.

It has been featured on CBC, as well as Apple Podcasts as “New & Noteworthy”. The English version of the series has also been featured in notable outlets such as Chatelaine, The Globe & Mail, and CTV.

Perhaps some of the most meaningful results, though, are the comments we receive from listeners, many of whom have reached out to share how valuable they found the stories and tools, as we set out to do:

“This is so fantastic! I’m so thankful for your work and this podcast! It brought me to tears!” said one listener.

“Thank you for the podcast. I’m glad that younger generations have tools where they can hear and seek help…women need conversations like this,” shared another listener.

We continue to promote the podcast through paid and organic means to increase its reach and equip even more people with the tools to provide survivor-led support—and end our culture of stigma and silence around gender-based violence.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Canadian Women's Foundation


Entry Credits