After the story of a 16-year-old North Carolina girl reported missing hit headlines, it shone a spotlight on a hand signal that helped save her life.
Two days after the girl’s parents reported her missing, a Kentucky driver noticed a girl in a passing car making hand gestures, which he recognized from TikTok. The driver took action, calling 911, telling dispatch the girl was motioning for help. Thankfully, the police were able to pull over and arrest the man and rescue the girl who is now back with her family. The 61-year-old male driver is charged with several crimes, including kidnapping.
The hand gesture the girl used was created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation as a “Signal for Help” because social isolation measures due to COVID has made it more difficult for those at risk of abuse or violence to reach out for help safely.
“Signal for Help” is a simple one-handed sign someone can use on things like a video call. It can help a person silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way.
If you see someone use the Signal for Help, check in with the person to find out what they need and what they want you to do.
They may want to tell you what is happening or simply want you to listen and be there for them. They may ask for help in finding services.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance).
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