The Australian government has issued a demand to online dating companies, urging them to enhance their safety measures by the middle of next year. Failure to comply with this request may result in regulatory action, as recent research has revealed a concerning increase in incidents of sexual violence targeting users of these platforms.
On Monday, the government called for a voluntary code of practice for the industry, which included commitments to better interaction with law enforcement authorities, support for at-risk users, stronger safety policies and greater transparency of harm.
The change comes after research from the Australian Institute of Criminology was published in October last year, which found that three in four people who use dating apps or websites have experienced some form of sexual violence in the five years to 2021. This included sexual harassment, abusive or threatening language. , image-based sexual abuse and stalking.
“Dating apps are now the most common way to meet a partner in Australia, but the level of violence experienced by users of these platforms is deeply concerning,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said in a statement. “Online dating platforms must do their part to end violence against women.”
If the voluntary code does not sufficiently improve the safety of users of online dating services, legislative alternatives will be sought, the government said.