Mobile dating applications and sexual and violent offending

Photo of mobile phone

In the last few years, a number of high-profile cases of sexual and violent offending have been committed after the offender and victim met through a mobile dating application (dating app). Subsequent media and popular rhetoric have positioned dating app sexual and violent offending as a major safety concern.

A literature review was conducted to determine the prevalence of dating app violence, the design features of dating apps that create and prevent opportunities for violence to occur, and the prevention strategies used by individual users and app designers. Results suggest that dating app users are at greater risk of sexual and violent victimisation than non-users. Dating app features designed to promote safety and connectedness paradoxically place users at risk of victimisation. Although some dating apps feature innovative safety mechanisms, most place the onus on users to protect themselves against victimisation.

More research is needed to inform prevention and intervention efforts.


URLs correct as at February 2024

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