The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has released a new report revealing that three in every four survey respondents had been subjected to sexual violence via dating apps in the past five years.
The respondents reported sexual harassment as the most common form of behaviour reported, as well as abusive and threatening language, and unsolicited sexual images.
The Institute’s report explored the findings of a large national survey of dating app and website users, designed to examine the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment, aggression and violence facilitated by online platforms.
According to the AIC’s Deputy Director, Rick Brown, one in three survey respondents were subjected to in-person dating app facilitated sexual violence (DAFSV), perpetrated by someone they met in person after communicating on a dating app or website.
“This included sexual assault or coercion, reproductive and sexual-health related abuse and in-person image-based sexual abuse,” Dr Brown said.
He said the research also revealed that DAFSV was experienced much more frequently among LGBTIQ+ men and women compared to heterosexual participants.
“We discussed the findings with industry in a recent roundtable in Canberra,” Dr Brown said.
“While it was encouraging to hear about what dating app companies are doing to embed safety into their products, the high levels of online and in-person DAFSV in this report demonstrate the need to embed Safety by Design principles in their development processes.”
He said the use of mobile dating apps had increased exponentially in the past 10 years, and to date there had been very few primary studies exploring the prevalence and nature of technology-facilitated sexual violence.
“This study aims to address these gaps in knowledge and provide valuable information that can assist in the development of policies and practices to prevent this kind of violence from occurring,” Dr Brown said.
In conjunction with the research report, another paper on the sexual exploitation of children on dating apps and websites is to be released by the Institute this Thursday (6 October).
Both reports will be available on the AIC at this PS News link.