General News

Charity calls for dating industry to make reporting safety concerns easier

Alice Blezard February 24, 2017

Independent research has found that a third of online daters have been concerned for their personal safety when communicating online or meeting potential partners from a dating website or app.

The research, which was carried out by YouGov on behalf of personal safety charity Suzy Lamplugh Trust (SLT) and funded by dating service Match also found that, despite the high number of users reporting safety concerns, over half of those never reported the incident to the dating provider.

Around 7.8 million adults in the UK used dating sites in 2016, making it the largest single way in which relationships start in Britain today. Whilst the majority are without incident, with 32% of respondents feeling concerned for their safety and over half of those not having reported the concern to their dating provider, the SLT believes that the number of unreported dating safety concerns could be over a million.

Rachel Griffin
Rachel Griffin

Rachel Griffin, CEO of the SLT, said: “While dating is mostly a fun and enjoyable experience, our research shows that the majority of those who have had concerns for their safety simply block perpetrator profiles, with 15% of daters feeling their report would not be acted upon by the service provider, 12% saying there wasn’t an easy way to report the concern on the dating website, and 7% feeling too embarrassed to report it.

It is essential that dating agencies encourage and support their members to report all incidents and concerns and that the mechanism for reporting is clear and easy to follow. This not only helps the individual involved, but may also safeguard other users as online dating agencies can spot potential problems and act immediately to protect their members.”

The research also shows that people feel comfortable sharing information about themselves online, with 44% saying it was easier getting to know someone quickly on an online dating website or app compared to face-to-face. 75% of those who have seen advice on safe dating said they have read it, but over half of those who have never acted on the advice they read (53%) said they felt they were already being careful (53%) or doing everything suggested (47%).

Suzy Lamplugh Trust personal safety advice includes:

♦      When online keep all communications with unknown persons through the dating website and not via personal communications such as social media.

♦      When chatting with someone online it’s better to talk about where you’ve been rather than where you’re going.

♦      When meeting people for dates tell someone where you’re going, who you’re meeting and check in with them before, during and after the date.

♦      Agree that if you don’t check in as agreed or respond then your friend would call the place where you’ve met or even go there to check on you.

♦      Report any suspicious or offensive behaviour to the online dating site.

For further information about the SLT and personal safety advice, click here: