#childsafety | Rising app-enabled sexual assaults lead to Tinder and Queensland Police collaboration – Hack

A rise in sexual assault reports linked with online dating has seen Queensland Police partner with Tinder in a world-first safety campaign.

The collaboration will see “victim-centric and trauma-informed” messaging embedded into the dating app over the summer.

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The campaign will provide practical safety tips, as well as details about reporting and support options if something goes wrong after swiping right.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said it was about going “straight to the source” to deal with the growing problem.

“This campaign is about empowering people to use these platforms safely,” she said.

“We want people to know that we are here, we want them to be safe and if something unwanted happens, they are not alone.

“Support and reporting options are available.”

In 2008, Queensland Police recorded three alleged rapes linked to online dating apps.

By 2019, that had jumped to 49.

Commissioner Carroll wanted people to feel supported coming forward with allegations, even if they didn’t want to make a formal complaint.

“Whether it’s meeting in person or online, you have got to behave. If you’re a perpetrator or offender, we will be basically looking for you,” she said.

Commissioner Carroll also announced the police service was working with Tinder and other police forces to develop a “law enforcement portal”.

“This portal will be available for policing agencies and dating applications to continue working together with the shared goal of enhancing the safety of online users,” she said.

Last year a joint investigation by triple j Hack and Four Corners revealed Tinder was failing to adequately respond to survivors of sexual assault and allowing rapists to cover their tracks.

Following the reporting, Tinder made safety changes to further protect users and ordered a comprehensive review of its “sexual misconduct reporting, moderation, and response processes”.

Kerrin Bradfield from the Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence worked with police and Tinder on the campaign.

She said it was important that anyone using the app was safe.

“Often what we see with dating apps is people feel ashamed or embarrassed by using them to meet people, whether that’s for casual sex, or in the hope that they find their soulmate,” Ms Bradfield said.

“Regardless of why people are on there, they do have a right to experience that with a high level of safety.”

The campaign includes practical tips including telling people where you’re going before heading out to meet someone and taking screenshots of profiles.

“Whether people implement all of those strategies, some of those strategies, or none of those strategies, it’s still not their fault if an assault happens, and that they can reach out for support and to report to the police,” Ms Bradfield said.

She said it was important that all victims felt supported.

“The messaging that has been developed is really sex-positive,” Ms Bradfield said.

“It’s very proactive.

“It sends a strong message to perpetrators as well, that this kind of behaviour won’t be tolerated on dating apps or in our communities.”

Buddy Loomis from Tinder’s parent company Match Group said they were taking a stronger stand against harassment.

“Offensive and violating behaviour have no place on Tinder,” she said.

“We’re committed to protecting our members.

“We know that safety is complex and personal and we approach it in several different angles because keeping our members safe is paramount with anything that we do.”

The messaging will appear on Tinder over the next eight weeks and will only be visible to Queensland users.

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