Australia is urging online dating companies to improve their safety practices by mid-next year or face regulation, following research showing a rise in sexual violence against users of these platforms. The government is calling for a voluntary code that includes commitments to better engagement with law enforcement, support for at-risk users, stronger safety policies, and greater transparency about harm. If the code does not sufficiently improve safety, legislative options will be pursued.
Australia Demands Dating Apps Boost Safety Amid Sexual Violence
Australia’s government has demanded that online dating companies improve their safety practices to address a rise in sexual violence against users of these platforms. The government is calling for a voluntary code from the industry that includes commitments to better engage with law enforcement, support at-risk users, implement stronger safety policies, and increase transparency about harm. Failure to improve safety through the voluntary code may result in regulatory action.
High Incidence of Sexual Violence on Dating Apps
Australian Institute of Criminology research released last year revealed that three out of four people using dating apps or websites experienced some form of sexual violence between 2016 and 2021. This included sexual harassment, abusive or threatening language, image-based sexual abuse, and stalking. The prevalence of such violence on dating platforms is deeply concerning and necessitates urgent action to protect users.
Government’s Call for Better Safety Measures
The Australian government is urging online dating companies to prioritize the safety of their users. The voluntary code proposed by the government aims to enhance engagement with law enforcement, provide support to at-risk users, implement stronger safety policies, and increase transparency about the potential harm associated with using these platforms. These measures are crucial in ensuring the well-being and protection of individuals who rely on dating apps to meet potential partners.