Grim New Report Finds 72% Of Aussie Dating App Users Are Victims Of Online Sexual Violence


A new study has confirmed dating apps are cesspits because it found 72.3 per cent of users have been victims of online sexual violence in the past five years.

The report was published on Tuesday by Australian Institute of Criminology and surveyed 9987 app users. It found alarmingly high rates of violence, stalking, assault and unwanted sharing of explicit images.

Two thirds of respondents said they had been sexually harassed, half said they had received unsolicited pictures and one-third said they had experienced in-person abuse from someone they met on an app.

Of those who experienced in-person abuse, 27 per cent of them reported sexual assault or coercion such as drink spiking. Nearly 20 per cent said they had been the victim of stealthing — a type of sexual abuse when a person wearing a condom removes it without consent.

Among heterosexual respondents, 79 per cent of women reported some form of online sexual violence. But the rates were higher still among LGBTQIA+ users with 87 per cent of women reporting abuse and 79 per cent of men.

Most respondents also said they had experienced abuse more than once.

The study found this abuse can have serious effects on young people’s mental health including lower overall life satisfaction, social isolation and lower self-esteem, as well as increased risk of re-victimisation.

It also found half the people who experienced abuse said the perpetrator blocked, unmatched or deleted them. A spokeswoman from AIC said this was an attempt to cover their tracks and not get caught.

“This shows that the perpetrators are looking to cover their tracks because they know they’ve done something wrong and unfortunately, the features allow this on some dating apps and websites,” Sarah Napier told the ABC.

“Some of the design features on these apps or websites really allow perpetrators to disappear and not be detected and that’s a real problem.”

The study said there was an urgent need for a change in dating app design to make them safer for users, including AI that would automatically censor images and authentication processes that would take away anonymity in each user’s account. That data wouldn’t be shared, it would just be on record if a perpetrator tries to create or accounts.

But ultimately the bigger issue here is a lack of understanding of consent. Mandatory consent education in all schools will come into effect in 2023, but hey why not mandatory consent education for every living, breathing Australian?