Online dating sex offenders
Women had flagged Lawrence to the site, but no single entity had been able to “join the dots” and prevent crimes taking place, he said. In an article in 2013 for Consumers Digest, Mandy Ginsberg, Match’s CEO, is quoted as saying: ”is no different than society.If you go out to a bar and meet someone that you don’t know, you should be careful.”But those who want to see the industry do more point out that online dating is different from society in one important sense: Users are paying to be there.Nevertheless, while app-related assaults were still rare, they were rising fast enough for the NCA to flag the emergence of “a new type of sexual offender.” Usually a man, he’s less likely than other sexual offenders to have committed any kind of crime before, but instead exploits the “ease of access and arm-chair approach” to meeting people that dating sites enable.Of course, sexual assaults related to online dating may be on the rise just because online dating itself is on the rise.But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.Dating companies are being pushed to better protect users, but some seem reluctant to do more— or even to talk about whether there’s a problem.All the same, the NCA noted that the incidents had a lot in common.Most notably, 72% were carried out in the home of either the victim or the perpetrator, and 41% of the dates that led to assaults started at home, rather than moving there after an initial meeting somewhere else.
A total of 58 people were victims of online dating-related crimes in those four years, some of them sexual. For context, in 2012 the area had an overall average of 243 sexual assaults and rapes every month.)Many apps offer a page of advice for safe dating.But Leech wants other protections, like giving users alerts about potential risks before they ever begin chatting with strangers.Is this scaremongering, or is online dating truly putting users in danger?If the US and UK are experiencing the same trends, then online dating is indeed becoming more dangerous.Then again, they may not be experiencing the same trends.In the US, the FBI collects data about so-called romance fraud and about online “sexploitation,” but data about physical assault linked to dating sites is scant.The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted by the US government, last collected data in 2011 and will publish an update this year, but doesn’t ask questions about online dating.The online environment could also lull users into thinking they know someone, and therefore making themselves vulnerable.To date, much of the research on online dating has been conducted by dating companies themselves. Often on multiple apps at once, users can swipe through dozens of profiles every minute and plan multiple dates, whether in hopes of a love match or a hook-up.Decisions to meet arise from limited information: A convenient location; a sultry glance captured in pixels; a mutual interest in “banter.” In 2014, Tinder users were spending as long as 90 minutes a day on the site.