Dating apps ‘may be factor’ in increasing number of rapes

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre says there was a 36% rise in sexual assaults reported in 2015

Individuals sometimes used apps to “prey on vulnerable people”. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Individuals sometimes used apps to “prey on vulnerable people”. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The proliferation of dating apps may be a contributory factor in an increase of 36 per cent in the number of rapes and sexual assaults reported to the Rotunda Hospital last year, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has said.

Centre chief executive Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop said the rise in victims presenting at the hospital’s sexual assault treatment unit in 2015 was “very concerning”.

“We have yet to analyse these figures as to why there has been such an increase,” she said. “In the UK, 400 offences, including rape, child sex grooming and attempted murder, have been connected by the police to users of dating apps.”

She said there were individuals using apps to “prey on vulnerable people” and people needed to be “as security-conscious as possible, and not share personal data with anyone until they are sure about those they are communicating with”.

“We would strongly encourage users to report offences and seek support if they become a victim of any type of crime,” she said.

The latest figures from the Central Statistic Office show there were 2,053 sexual offences committed in 2014; 2,010 in 2013; 2,116 in 2012; and 2,014 in 2011.