Vulnerable people trying to find love online should soon be better protected as dating apps, governments and police join forces to stamp out sexual violence.
A roundtable meeting on Wednesday will aim to tackle the issue head-on.
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth, who is hosting the meeting with Communications Minister Michelle Rowland, said she would discuss measures that could prevent abusive behaviour such as requiring background checks.
“Someone might not have been convicted of any crime, but they may be using inappropriate behaviour, inappropriate comments,” she told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“How can we pick that up earlier, before a crime or abuse is perpetrated?”
Rishworth said she wanted companies to start designing safety measures within their apps to ensure users were protected from harassment.
“The other area that we really need to get better at is making sure that those who have experienced violence have a say in how companies respond,” she said.
Rowland described sexual violence in the community as “devastatingly common”.
“We know that women are more likely than men to experience online harm, particularly sexualised, violent and threatening abuse,” she said.
Sexual violence includes online abuse such as revenge porn, sexual harassment, abusive language, threats and controlling behaviour.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said dating apps needed to take more responsibility for stamping out bad behaviour.
The government is working towards making it easier to identify perpetrators and hold them accountable as well as providing better support for those who experience abuse.
“One of the big problems we see is recidivism, where perpetrators are permanently banned but are still able to create a new account using a different device or email address,” the commissioner told AAP.
Rowland says online harm cannot be viewed in a vacuum.
“These harms reflect broader cultural patterns,” she will tell the meeting.
One in three people told the Australian Institute of Criminology they were subject to sexual violence from someone they met on a dating app, including sexual assault or coercion and revenge porn.
A woman also dies at the hands of her partner every 10 days in Australia.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said technology could be a power for good and many people were happy after meeting partners online, but there were too many harrowing stories from women who used dating apps.
“We also know women who feel too ashamed to talk about their awful experiences on these apps when somebody has completely misrepresented themselves in a way that has damaged the psyche of women who trusted them,” she said.
Ley said it was important dating apps checked the credentials of someone trying to use the platform to ensure “they are who they say they are and they enter into those prospective relationships in good faith”.