Over the last five years, reported crimes related to online dating have had a dramatic increase.
Around seven million residents in the United Kingdom are currently registered on dating sites, and approximately one in three relationships in the UK now start online. Tinder and Grindr are two of the biggest dating apps. Tinder is widely popular with heterosexual people, with around 50 million users worldwide, while Grindr is a dating app specifically for gay men. Both of these apps have had crimes rise year after year.
More than 400 criminal offences that were linked to apps similar to Grindr and Tinder were reported in the UK last year. Figures from UK police officers have shown that 2054 offences were recorded between 2011 and 2016. There were only 140 crimes related to online dating that were recorded in 2011, but by 2016 there was a 382% increase, as the figure rose to a shocking 676 recorded crimes. During this same period of time, the number of sexual related crimes saw a rise from 14 to 106 and violent attacks reported had also seen an increase from 29 to 240.
Other police reports have shown that crimes of a sexual nature and aggression were the most common with 253 violence allegations and 152 offences such as, grooming, rape and sexual exploitation of children.
Peter Tatchell, a human rights campaigner said, ‘The steep rise in sexual and violent offences is a worrying trend that seems likely to continue. I suspect these figures are just the tip of the iceberg.’
The NSPCC have also warned that children should not have access to these apps or websites as they can put themselves in danger. A spokesman for NSPCC has said that: 'Dating apps are not safe for children. It's easy for children to say that they are older, or for adults to say they are younger.'