While dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge now play a major role in many young Brits’ love lives, a rising number of sexual assault cases have also been reported which happened after meeting someone on an app. Reporter Linda Adey investigates the safety of the most popular dating apps in Britain. She asks whether providing background checks for all users might be one way to improve safety on the most popular apps.
Linda also explores the complaints processes of dating apps. She meets 26-year-old Bex, who tried to report her Tinder date, who she claims sexually assaulted her during a date. She ended up being banned by Tinder, who took months to respond to her initial complaint. According to a survey carried out for the BBC, 47% of people who responded and had used a dating app were not happy with the way their complaint was handled. Linda Adey meets a young woman, Sasha, who claims she was raped twice after meeting a date. Sasha couldn’t report the incident because her Tinder date blocked her, which meant all records of their connection on the app were deleted.
According to a new survey carried out for the BBC, 33% of dating app users who responded have experienced either harassment or abuse by someone they met via a dating app. The survey includes women and men aged 18-35 years old.
The investigation also looks into the latest police data. More than 6,000 people have reported offences linked to dating apps between 2017 and 2021. One in five were sexual offences. The police data is supported by the National Crime Agency’s latest statistics from March 2021. They found that cases have increased over the past four years, and 83% of the victims were female. But the true number of cases could be higher: according to the Office for National Statistics, fewer than 16% of sexual assaults are reported to the police.
In very rare cases, a date ends tragically. Linda Adey meets the mum of 26-year-old Katherine from Wales. After Katherine met her new partner on Plenty of Fish, she was stabbed 33 times by someone who turned out to be a dangerous and violent offender. How could someone with over 140 previous convictions be a user of a dating app?