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Not all people who report attacks mention whether an app was involved.Victims, as well as perpetrators, hide crimes: Only an estimated 17% of all rapes, app-linked or not, are reported to police, the NCA said.In the US, overall incidents of sexual violence have fallen by 63% since 1993, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.By contrast, the UK’s Office for National Statistics has recorded an increase in sexual assaults since 2012.
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.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. 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.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.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.However, it puts most of that down to increased reporting and better recording by the police.Better reporting, therefore, might also partly explain why internet dating assaults have increased in the UK.