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lunedì 31 luglio 2017

Date Rape Apps

Girls as young as 16 claim to have been raped after using dating apps restricted to singles 18 and over, disturbing new figures have revealed. 
According to a recent Freedom of Information request, four reports of rape - with links to sites such as Tinder, Bumble, Happn, GrindrMatch.com and Plenty of Fish - were made to West Midlands Police in the last 12 months. 

The figures come just a year after popular dating app, Tinder banned under 18s after it was revealed children below the age of consent were being groomed by adults online.

The app previously allowed children as young as 13 to browse and 'match' hundreds of users in the area, exposing them a host of messages from men and women up to the age of 55.

A spokesperson for specialist rape support services, Rape Crisis, said: "We know that online grooming, of adults as well as children, is a long-standing technique among sexual violence perpetrators.
"Dating websites and apps are now established among the range of means sexual offenders use to target and access women and girls in particular."

With one in three relationships initiating online, the charity says dating sites have a duty of care and responsibility to keep users safe from rape and other forms of sexual violence

"People should have a reasonable expectation of being able to use these products and services without fear of sexual violence," the charity added. 

But users looking to find love on the popular apps and sites also reported other serious crimes such as harassment, blackmail, fraud, domestic violence and robbery.

From July 2016 to July 2017, West Midlands Police recorded seven claims of domestic abuse, six of harassment, one of blackmail, four rapes of females 16 or over, two of robbery, two of fraud and a few lesser crimes - all linked to the above dating services. 


The Mail previously reported how West Midlands Police investigated three rape cases linked to Tinder within five years, along with 14 other serious offences.



And the number of dating app crimes has more than doubled in the last four years, according to the police records which showed 32 incidents reported in the last 12 months compared to just 15 in 2013/14. 


Despite the shocking levels of crime reported by dating app users, campaigners have warned that there are many more victims who may not have reported offences against them. 

As the rising popularity of online dating continues, West Midlands Police have urged singles searching for love online to report offences and seek support from its officers.

Mark Silvester from the force crime reduction team said: “Unacceptable or suspicious behaviour can be flagged up directly with the dating service. Providers want and need to know if there is a problem so that they can act and get people off their sites immediately to help safeguard users.”
He advised those using online dating sites and apps to be very careful about the where, when and how you meet people in person and to always take every precaution to ensure the person is genuine before meeting.
He added: "Never disclose private information and never be tempted to send or transfer money to people you meet online, however unfortunate their story.
"People should stop all communication with anyone who attempts to pressurise them into something they do not feel comfortable with and report any criminal activity to the police."

App date rape claims from girls as young as 16 STEPHANIE BALLOO 31 JUL 2017


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