26 Jun 2015

Dating app assault complaints in Wellington

3:13 pm on 26 June 2015

A small number of sexual assaults have been reported in Wellington involving people using social media dating applications, police say.


A smartphone showing social media apps Facebook, Twitter and Tinder. Photo: RNZ

They said the same caution should be used in meetings arising from social media contacts as any other way of meeting a new person.

Six sexual assault complaints have been made to police in Wellington this year relating to the use of online dating sites.

The sites includes social media apps like Tinder or Grindr, which allow strangers to connect via mobile devices.

Detective Mark Scott said three cases were before the courts, two other complaints were still under investigation and one has been withdrawn.

He said the focus was on the victims and offenders, not the websites themselves, but he warned a couple of meetings with a person was not necessarily enough to trust them.

Cyber safety group Netsafe said social media dating applications brought an immediacy to dating that could put people into danger quickly.

Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker said safety measures for meeting a new person have not been changed by technology but dating apps allowed people to meet up faster.

"The danger is that people are very quickly going from not having met somebody to being physically in front of them, and not having time to process the possible dangers that are associated with that meeting."

Mr Cocker said people should take the time to ensure they were meeting up with someone safely.