New dating app research reveals online sexual abuse is seldom reported to the police

Today the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has released a report which examines the experiences of victims who reported sexual harassment and violence perpetrated by someone they met on an online dating platform to the police.

The report reveals only 8.3% of survey respondents who experienced online sexual harassment or violence through a dating platform, and 14.7% of those who experienced in-person sexual harassment or violence from someone they met through one of these platforms, reported it to the police.

AIC Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown said men who had been victims of online or in-person sexual harassment and violence were more likely than women to report it to police.

“Overall, police were found to respond appropriately to reports, and levels of satisfaction with reporting and investigation processes were high.

“Despite experiencing disproportionate rates of sexual harassment and violence, LGBTIQ+ women had the lowest rates of reporting, and those who did report were also more likely to indicate negative experiences,” Dr Brown said.

“The AIC’s continued research into the dangers of dating apps adds to our understanding of the experiences and needs of victims who report sexual violence and harassment through online dating platforms to police, and can inform improvements to reporting and investigation processes,” Dr Brown said.

This study draws on the 2021 survey responses of almost 10,000 adults living in Australia who had used an online dating platform in the previous five years. It builds on previous AIC research released late last year, that showed the prolific use of dating apps to facilitate sexual violence.

The report can be downloaded from the AIC website.


02 6268 7343