Australia: Significant Sexual Violence on Dating Apps

The Australian Institute of Criminology has published new survey results showing that three quarters of dating app users faced online sexual violence in the past five years. This includes behaviour such as stalking, assault and non consensual sharing of explicit images.

The researchers’ analysis showed that a “significant proportion” of people on dating apps were exposed to some form of online and physical sexual violence.

Results showed one third of respondents received in-person abuse from someone they met on an app. Almost half of victims reported that an abuser unmatched, blocked them, or deleted their own profile to avoid being caught.

Among heterosexual individuals, 79% of women and 61% of men reported some form of online violence.

The study gave some recommendations to dating apps to ensure greater safety for users. These include easier reporting systems, censorship of explicit images, and stored conversation logs to help victims report issues to the authorities.  

“Considering the long- and short-term implications for victim-survivors after experiencing these harmful behaviours, there is an obvious need to develop mechanisms for protecting users,” the study’s authors wrote.

“These impacts include poorer health and wellbeing, including overall life satisfaction, social isolation and lower self-esteem, as well as increased risk of re-victimisation” they added.