In an effort to protect users of dating
apps from potential perpetrators, Full Stop Australia is calling for a national
domestic violence offender register and mandatory ID checks on dating apps at
today’s online safety summit.
Today, Full Stop Australia will be participating in a roundtable discussion, hosted by the Federal Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, to examine the necessary protections that need to be in place to protect users of dating apps.
With almost three-quarters of dating app users subjected to online sexual violence, serious action is needed to increase the safety of their use, says Hayley Foster, CEO of Full Stop Australia.
“Today’s reality is that many Australians now meet their intimate partners online, but there are added risks associated with this way of meeting people, and we have a responsibility to make these online meeting places as safe as possible.”
“Whilst education is important, and there are safety precautions people can take when engaging with apps, the onus shouldn’t be on potential victims to protect themselves from perpetrators of violence and abuse.”
“Moreover, even if you do everything ‘right’, you can still be targeted by a serial predator.”
The current lack of verification and regulation around the identity of people using dating apps limits the ability of app providers and law enforcement agencies to respond when things go wrong, and this is putting people at risk of violence.
To ameliorate this risk, Full Stop Australia will this morning call for government regulation to require mandatory identity checks for all dating app users.
Ms Foster explains, “If we know who are on these apps, we can provide sanctions to those who use violent or abusive behaviour and prevent them from being able to delete their account and open another one to continue searching for their next target.”
In conjunction with this measure, Full Stop Australia will be calling for a commitment to establish a National Domestic Violence Offender Register, similar to the existing Sex Offender Register, to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to monitor serious and repeat offenders who pose a continuing risk to the community, and to enable services dealing with vulnerable people to screen out serial, violent offenders.
“We need to make it easier for service organisations like dating apps to screen out those who are abusing their platforms to perpetrate violence”, said Ms Foster. “We can’t leave all the responsibility up to potential victims to protect themselves.”