Saturday 1 October 2016

Rape Crisis Centre warns dating apps play role in sexual assaults

Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30

400 assaults in the UK last year were connected to dating sites. Photo: PA
400 assaults in the UK last year were connected to dating sites. Photo: PA

Dating apps have played a role in the rise of sexual assaults, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre revealed, as the number of sex attacks and rapes increased by 36pc in Dublin last year.

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Chief executive Ellen O'Malley Dunlop said it was difficult to put a figure on the amount of attacks here resulting from online contacts, as victims often feel they put themselves in a vulnerable position by speaking out.

However, 400 assaults in the UK last year were connected to dating sites.

"They (the websites) are wide open for people who want to take advantage of another person, whether they be a man or a woman," said Ms O'Malley Dunlop.

"People are meeting others without any support systems around them. At least if you go to a party you have friends and other people around you.

"If they are meeting somebody in a place where there are no supports, it is absolutely open for perpetrators."

Ms O'Malley Dunlop said rape crisis services across the country were under severe pressure because of the increasing number of sexual assaults.

Some cases in Dublin were transferred to other parts of the country last year because of increased demand for help.

"We are looking at quite a worrying increase in the number of victims," she said.

"Over the past year Mullingar had to take in some victims from Dublin because there may not have been availability in the Rotunda Hospital. We have seen a 36pc increase in Dublin alone at one sexual assault treatment unit. There are five others in the country."

She added that it was encouraging to see people were confident to seek support after an attack.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre helpline: 1800 77 88 88

Irish Independent

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