Reportedly, the number of people being raped on their first date after meeting someone through dating apps has soared six fold in the last five years.
National Crime Agency (NCA) figures reveal that 184 people reported being raped by someone they had met through a website or dating app in 2014, in comparison 33 people reported the same offence in 2009.
The NCA’s report also stated that 85% of the rape victims were women and, of these, 42% were aged 20-29 and 24% were aged between 40-49. The agency said it is concerned that the number of rapes may be under-reported and subsequently encouraged victims to come forward. More than nine million people in the UK have signed up to dating websites.
Head of the NCA’s Serious Crime Analysis Section Sean Sutton has said that we could be experiencing the emergence of a “new breed” of rapist as these alleged sex offenders are less likely to hold a criminal record.
84% of people who are convicted of stranger rapes have previous convictions, whereas around 49% of those suspected of committing rape through dating sites do not, the latter group also receive less severe convictions.
Mr. Sutton said, “It is potentially quite a different type of character who is perpetuating these offences from our usual, if I can use that term, stranger rape case. Is it displacement or is it a new breed? We couldn’t say and we wouldn’t want to conjecture”.
According to figures victims who are raped by someone they met online are twice as likely to report the crime than those who are raped by a fake taxi driver, however these alarming statistics have led to the launch of a huge public awareness campaign, in order to prevent the same pattern from continuing.
Mr. Sutton concluded, “Sexual assault is a crime, full stop, and we want victims to feel confident reporting to the police. This initial work clearly raises a lot of questions and we will be working with academia to build a more complete picture”.
TNT News Billy Rooney