Suzy Lamplugh Trust believes the number of unreported dating safety concerns could number over a million
Independent online research by YouGov carried out on behalf of personal safety charity, Suzy Lamplugh Trust and funded by dating service, Match, has found that a third of online daters have been concerned for their personal safety when communicating online (32%) or on meeting (37%) potential partners from a dating website or app. However, over half (56%) of those who have been concerned have never reported the incident to the dating provider.
Around 7.8 million adults in the UK used online 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 not having reported the concern to their dating provider, Suzy Lamplugh Trust believes the number of unreported dating safety concerns could number over a million**.
According to Rachel Griffin, CEO, Suzy Lamplugh Trust:
"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%).
Rachel Griffin, CEO, Suzy Lamplugh Trust added: "We would always encourage people to follow personal safety advice when talking online or meeting new people for the first time; we also encourage daters to report any concerns or issues they have to the dating service and/or the police. In the meantime, we will continue to call upon the online dating industry to ensure it takes all complaints seriously and supports users appropriately when they report concerns."
Suzy Lamplugh Trust personal safety advice includes:
• When online keep all communications with unknown persons through the dating website channels 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 personal safety advice re dating online and our manifesto for online dating agencies please see the Suzy Lamplugh Trust website: http://www.suzylamplugh.org/dating
Notes to Editors
Suzy Lamplugh Trust was set up by the parents of Suzy Lamplugh, a 25 year old estate agent, who disappeared without trace in 1986 after she went to meet an unknown client. Suzy Lamplugh Trust works to highlight the risks people face and to campaign, educate and support people to help reduce the risk of violence and aggression.
*‘The Online Dating Market in the UK 2014-2015’ (2016) by Leading Dating Sites
**Around a third of online daters (7.8 million adults) have experienced safety concerns (2.6 million) and over half of those never reported them (1.3 million) = over a million
All other figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2018 adults (of which 412 have used an online dating website/ app). Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd February 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults online (aged 18+).
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