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Nevertheless, while app-related assaults were still rare, they were rising fast enough for the NCA to flag the emergence of “a new type of sexual offender.” Usually a man, he’s less likely than other sexual offenders to have committed any kind of crime before, but instead exploits the “ease of access and arm-chair approach” to meeting people that dating sites enable.Of course, sexual assaults related to online dating may be on the rise just because online dating itself is on the rise.But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.

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However, it puts most of that down to increased reporting and better recording by the police.

Better reporting, therefore, might also partly explain why internet dating assaults have increased in the UK.

Often on multiple apps at once, users can swipe through dozens of profiles every minute and plan multiple dates, whether in hopes of a love match or a hook-up.

Decisions to meet arise from limited information: A convenient location; a sultry glance captured in pixels; a mutual interest in “banter.” In 2014, Tinder users were spending as long as 90 minutes a day on the site.

The trouble is that statistics on crimes linked to online dating are sparse.

In 2016, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) released findings on data from police forces around the country. Not all the forces collect data specific to dating apps.

In the US, overall incidents of sexual violence have fallen by 63% since 1993, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

By contrast, the UK’s Office for National Statistics has recorded an increase in sexual assaults since 2012.

Not all people who report attacks mention whether an app was involved.

Victims, as well as perpetrators, hide crimes: Only an estimated 17% of all rapes, app-linked or not, are reported to police, the NCA said.

But Leech wants other protections, like giving users alerts about potential risks before they ever begin chatting with strangers.

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