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Police urge dating app assault victims to come forward

They said the platform had not assisted in identifying the men and only supplied pro-forma replies.

Inspector Goldrick said many people choose to report perpetrators via functions on apps but this does not mean potentially criminal behaviour will be investigated by police, who can investigate even if a perpetrator has blocked or deleted a profile.

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Under-reporting of sexual assault that had occurred as a result of online dating “can be for a range of reasons, including fear or embarrassment, and sometimes feeling unsure if an offence has occurred”.

“It’s really important people don’t blame themselves or feel a sense of shame because they’ve met up with somebody in a mutual, consenting way and then something goes wrong,” said Inspector Goldrick.

As Victoria prepares to open up and people resume real world dating activities Inspector Goldrick wants people to know if they report incidents to police they will be believed.

She said they should also consider reporting online-dating linked assaults that occurred in the past.

“We might have people unsure about making a report because the person has blocked or removed their profile on the app, or maybe a lengthy period of time has passed and victims are worried it has been too long.

“While we encourage victims to report as soon as possible, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, we are always able to investigate a sexual offence.”

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636. For help in a crisis call 000.

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