New research found a 175% increase in UK police cases linked to dating apps between 2017 and 2021, with the number rising from 699 to 1,922.
Investigations conducted by the Telegraph found these cases linked to dating apps, which include instances of sexual assault, harassment, and drink spiking. The figures were obtained by searching through databases of 29 police authorities across England and Wales.
“Dating apps are a really popular way for people to meet each other, but there is also a really worrying side to the way perpetrators are exploiting this to meet potential victims, so while shocking, the high numbers of rapes, harassment, sexual assault and stalking linked to dating apps is unsurprising”, shared Andrea Simon, director of the End Violence Against Woman Coalition.
“We expect to see women’s right to be free from abuse built into the design of any app and its services. At a minimum this could look like rapid and appropriate responses to reports of online abuse and adequate content moderation so that victims’ reports are assessed by a person rather than AI”, Simon told the Telegraph.
“We have to acknowledge that tech companies ultimately profit from a business model that ignores the abuse facilitated by its services”.
Simon shared that more policies to protect women and girls should be enacted by tech companies, and something that could be included in the Online Safety Bill.
A spokesperson for Bumble spoke with the Telegraph to discuss the alarming statistics.
“At Bumble, we take the safety of our members and any violations, alleged or otherwise, of our guidelines very seriously. We encourage a community that’s rooted in kindness, respect, inclusivity, and accountability, and do not tolerate physical abuse, gender-based violence, and/or sexual violence”, they said.
“We are saddened by the statistics that you have shared. As a platform that’s committed to helping people create safe and healthy relationships, women’s safety is one of our top priorities. We continuously invest in partnerships, products and programs that prevent harms that disproportionately impact women and advance the safety of our members”, the spokesperson shared.