YouGov and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust have conducted an online study, revealing how safe singles really feel when using online dating platforms.
The study, which was funded by Match.com, revealed that 32% of online singles surveyed have felt worried for their safety when speaking to someone on an app or website.
Moving things offline raises even more concern, with 37% of online daters admitting they felt anxious about meeting someone they had matched with on the internet.
However, just 56% of people reported these concerns to the app or site they were using.
Rachel Griffin, CEO of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said: “While dating is mostly a fun and enjoyable experience, our research shows that the majority of those who have had concerns for their safety simply block perpetrator profiles, with 15% of daters feeling their report would not be acted upon by the service provider, 12% saying there wasn’t an easy way to report the concern on the dating website, and 7% feeling too embarrassed to report it.
“It is essential that dating agencies encourage and support their members to report all incidents and concerns and that the mechanism for reporting is clear and easy to follow.
“This not only helps the individual involved, but may also safeguard other users as online dating agencies can spot potential problems and act immediately to protect their members.”
The study also found that although 75% of people who had seen safety advice also read it, 53% did not act on it, although 53% said they were already careful and 47% said they were doing everything suggested.
However, it isn’t all bad news – the research said there are around 7.8m adults using online dating services in the UK alone (a figure taken from The Online Dating Market in the UK 2014-2015 report).
In addition to this, 44% of people admitted it was easier and quicker to get to know someone online, compared to in person.
Griffin said: “We would always encourage people to follow personal safety advice when talking online or meeting new people for the first time; we also encourage daters to report any concerns or issues they have to the dating service and/or the police.
“In the meantime, we will continue to call upon the online dating industry to ensure it takes all complaints seriously and supports users appropriately when they report concerns.”
The study asked 2018 adults (412 had used an online dating platform) to complete an online survey – the results collected were then weighted to represent all English adults aged 18 and above.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust aims to improve people’s safety and reduce violence and aggression through campaigning, support, education and its annual reports.
To find out more about this study please click here.