The one-minute video shared on Twitter shows people the hand gesture to make if they are feeling threatened. The movement involves tucking your thumb into your palm and folding your four fingers over the top of your thumb. This one-handed gesture sends a signal to get help and to call the police. The idea is you can ‘signal for help’ silently without the abuser hearing.
The video shared on Twitter has so far received 640.2k views and 31.7k likes.
The post read: “Everyone should know the international sign for help me.
“Let’s make this famous #helpme.”
One Twitter user responded: “Is this real? It’s fantastic if it is.”
Another commented: “Thank you for sharing this, I had no idea.”
A third responded: “I had no idea, everyone needs to know this #HelpMe.”
A fourth added: “This is desperately needed for both men & women.”
However, another made the important point that the signal was different to the British sign language gesture: “International sign? I mean, it’s a good thing to know and have, but it’s nothing like the BSL sign for help”
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Calls to domestic abuse charities and helplines have also risen.
The United Nations has described the global increase in domestic violence as a “shadow pandemic”.
Domestic abuse is often an unreported crime and it’s believed official statistics could be far worse.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the Budget earlier this month that domestic abuse schemes in England and Wales will receive an extra £19 million from the government over the next two years.
Most of the money is expected to go towards programmes working with abusers, to reduce the risk of reoffending.
Whilst this extra money has been welcomed by charities, they’ve also warned it’s not enough.
Women’s Aid estimated a funding shortfall of more than £200m which would mean “women and children will be turned away from the lifesaving support they need”.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic abuse you can seek help from a variety of organisations including The National Domestic Abuse Helpline.