Durham Police have released data and advice explaining the dangers of online dating. Rape allegations, stalking offences and blackmail cases are among the crimes associated with platforms including Tinder, Grindr and Plenty of Fish.
Victim Support and the End Violence Against Women Coalition say dating apps must do more to protect their users.
And Durham Constabulary say there are steps that can be taken to reduce risks involved in online dating: “The vast majority of people using online dating sites are sincere and honest in the information they provide and in their reasons for joining.
“However, there are exceptions, and users should be aware of the potential dangers so they can protect themselves both online and in person.”
Durham Constabulary encouraged singles to do the exercise the following precautions when meeting a potential partner:
- Don’t rush into an online relationship.
- Analyse their profile – check their photos and details.
- Talk to your friends and family, let them know what you’re doing
- Never send money to someone you have not met.
- Do not disclose any bank account or credit card details to someone you do not know.
- Be cautious when sharing personal information with people online.
- Be aware of what information you share online.
If you decide to meet someone in person:
- Don’t feel pressured to meet before you’re ready or for any longer than you’re comfortable with – a short first date is fine.
- Meet in public, and stay in public.
- Don’t move somewhere private if you don’t feel ready.
- Not going well? Make your excuses and leave. You don’t owe the other person anything.
- If your date is in a bar, club or other licensed premises and you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened, approach venue staff and ask for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase will indicate to staff that you require help and a trained member of staff will support you.
- If you are raped or sexually assaulted on your date, help is available. No matter what the circumstances, sexual activity against your will is a crime – police and charities are here to help and support you.
Research conducted by Phactual.com showed revealed the following statistics surrounding online dating:
- One in ten sex offenders use online dating platforms to meet other people.
- eHarmony found that men who reported incomes higher than $250,000 received 156% more email than those with $50,000.
- 33% of women who have sex on the first online dating encounter, of these, 4 out of 5 women did not use protection.
- 51% of online daters are already in a relationship of some kind.