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Exploring the Link Between Dating Apps and Sexual Assault: Novel Research Findings

Event Dates
Event Duration
1 Hour

Dr. Julie Valentine will share background information on dating app usage and user demographics to provide context for research findings on dating apps and sexual assault. Research findings will be presented on sexual assaults committed at the first in-person meeting when the victim and assailant met on a dating app compared to other sexual assaults not associated with dating apps. Practice and policy recommendations will be shared to improve dating app safety. 

This webinar explores the link between dating apps and sexual assault as a growing phenomenon with minimal published research. Research findings on victim, assailant, and assault characteristics will be presented from a retrospective study of sexual assault medical forensic examination charts from 274 dating app facilitated sexual assaults (DAppSA). The purpose of this study was to explore differences in victim and assault characteristics of DAppSA cases compared to other sexual assaults committed by acquaintances not associated with dating apps. The findings indicate that DAppSA cases are more violent sexual assaults with strangulation occurring in one-third of the cases and higher rates of assaultive/penetrative sexual acts. DAppSA victims were more likely to have documented anogenital and non-anogenital injuries due to the increased violent acts in these assaults. Due to these findings, the researchers conjecture that violent sexual predators use dating apps as hunting grounds for vulnerable victims. Recommendations to improve dating app safety in practice and legislative policy will be discussed. 

Valentine, J.L., Miles, L.W., Hamblin, K.M., & Gibbons, A.W. (2022). Dating app facilitated sexual assault: A retrospective review of sexual assault medical forensic examination charts. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, DOI: 10.1177/08862605221130390 

Detailed Learning Objectives

  1. Attendees will expand their knowledge of dating apps usage and user demographics.
  2. Attendees will be able to demonstrate understanding of dating app facilitated sexual assault.
  3. Attendees will consider interventions to improve dating app safety.

Date Created: March 6, 2023