One in Three Australians Subjected To Sexual Violence After Meeting Someone On Dating App

One in Three Australians Subjected To Sexual Violence After Meeting Someone On Dating App

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has revealed that three in four dating app users have been subjected to sexual violence in the last five years.

The disturbing findings revealed in a new report showed that sexual harassment was the most common form of sexual violence report, as well as abusive and threatening language, and unsolicited sexual images.

The AIC surveyed of almost 10,000 dating app or website users in Australia to examine the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment, aggression, and violence facilitated by these online platforms.

One in three survey respondents were subjected to in-person sexual violence perpetrated by someone they had met in real life after chatting 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.

AIC Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown said that the research also shows that sexual violence following dating app use was experienced much more frequently among LGBTIQ+ men and women compared to heterosexual participants. For example, 36.6 per cent of LGBTIQ+ men and 42.1 per cent of LGBTIQ+ women experienced sexual assault and coercion. The rate for heterosexual men and women was 21.2 per cent and 27.9 per cent, respectively.

82.5 per cent of respondents identified as heterosexual while 16.2 per cent were from the LGBTIQ+ community.

Men accounted for 50 per cent of survey respondents, women 49.3 per cent, and the remaining 0.7 per cent identified as non-binary. More than one-third of respondents were aged 25-34, while 21 per cent were aged between 18 and 24 and 22.2 per cent were between 35 and 44.

“We discussed the findings with industry in a recent roundtable in Canberra,” said Dr Brown.

“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.

“Use of mobile dating apps has increased exponentially in the last 10 years, and to date, there have 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.”

31 per cent of respondents were from New South Wales, while 27 per cent, 19 per cent, and 9 per cent were from Victoria and Queensland, respectively.

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