Those looking for love are being told to keep vigilant this summer as at least one sexual assault involving dating apps is reported to police each week. Photo / 123RF
Police are warning people wanting a bit of summer love to be vigilant after dealing with at least one complaint a week from sexual assaults involving dating apps.
As the festive season gets into full swing police say those seeking new relationships need to be wary when meeting up with new people online.
Adult sexual assault team boss Detective Inspector Scott Beard said police routinely received reports of sexual offences involving dating apps.
These included popular apps iTinder, Bumble, Grindr and Badoo.
“Anecdotally, our information suggests there is around one report a week to police in Auckland this year relating to sexual offending involving dating apps,” Beard said.
“We also know that sexual or other offending in these scenarios often goes under-reported to police. One incident is one too many.
Beard said historically police dealt with increases in reports of sexual offending over the warmer summer months in dating and nightlife settings.
“While there is no current indication of a rise in reports of sexual offending involving dating apps, every person has the right to be safe in their dating lives.
He warned it paid to be vigilant with people you didn’t know – whether online or in person.
It was also a reminder for men to check their own behaviours while meeting up with people.
“Just because you are meeting up with someone and you’re having a good time doesn’t automatically give you consent.
“Consent must be given; consent cannot be assumed, and it can also be withdrawn at any time.
“Sexual violence is not part of consenting and there is no tolerance for this sort of offending.”
Beard said in some cases it was best for one party to make their excuses and leave in a situation they may not be comfortable with.
“Don’t feel bad about cutting a date short. It’s important to remember to trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
“If you chose to meet someone you don’t know for the first time, always meet in a public place and let someone know where you are going and who you are meeting.”
Beard said while police weren’t aware of an increase in drink-spiking in the city, it was best to be vigilant to suspicious behaviour regardless.
“There is no tolerance for any inappropriate or illegal behaviour,” he said.
The best rule of thumb was to always keep an eye on your own drink and not to accept drinks from a stranger.
“Look out for your friends. If someone has had too much to drink, make sure they get home safely.”
Keeping safe online
• If you are meeting someone for the first time, meet in a public place.
• Tell someone where you’re going and who you are meeting
• Trust yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t feel bad about cutting the date short.
• If you feel unsafe, call 111 immediately.
Keeping safe in town
• Keep an eye on your drink
• Report any suspicious activity to bar staff and Police
• If you feel unwell, seek medical assistance immediately
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