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First Date Rape: Women Under 40 More Likely Targets Than Women Over 40?

First Date Rape: Women Under 40 More Likely Targets Than Women Over 40?

Figures released by The National Crime Agency (NCA) show the number of people reporting rape on their first date with someone they met on a dating website or app has risen by more than 450% in five years. However, the actual number of incidents remains unknown due to the significant underreporting of sexual assaults in the UK. According to the NCA's report, only 17% of rapes in the UK are reported to the police.

The NCA fear that aspects of the online dating process - such as sexual conversations between victims and assailants - could contribute to victims wrongfully blaming themselves.

Under 40s take communication offline too soon - the biggest no-no in online dating safety

The NCA revealed that 85% of the first date rape victims in 2014 were women and, of these, 42% were aged 20 to 29 and 24% were between 40 and 49.

A recent survey conducted by Older-Dating.co.uk showed that members aged over 40 log in to the dating site twice as many times as the under 40s over the course of a year. The data could indicate that the younger demographic are taking their communications offline soon after making a connection, which is against one of the key safety rules communicated to online daters.

Why you should pay for online dating

A lot of people donít realise that a large proportion of an online dating subscription fee will be used to operate a moderation team. Moderation teams check messages that are sent to and from accounts using highly intelligent, specially developed software which flags suspicious behaviour.

Older-Dating.co.uk's moderation teams stop 100s of potential criminals week after week before users even open their inbox. With free dating apps, exploitation can happen a lot more easily, which is why weíre urging UK singles to consider whether the dating app they use has their safety and wellbeing at the forefront of their ethos.

Itís so important for online dating sites to support members to date online safely and securely at all times. Shortly after joining Older-Dating.co.uk, they send a series of practical safety tips via email which detail how to stay safe, and how to spot suspicious behaviours. They urge each and every member to keep communicating to other members through the site for as long as possible, this is so they can keep them safe for longer.

Due to the demographic of the member base, a lot of our members have been divorced or widowed, and have been hurt in the past. This can make them more vulnerable to suspicious behaviour like ĎRomance Scamsí, so they make a big effort to support their members and make sure they feel, and are, safe, both online and offline. To this aid, they have a UK support line, a Ďreport profileí function, and we are members of the Online Dating Protector group.

How to choose a safe dating site - putting your safety first

1. Is the site part of an online safety organisation?

Check whether your chosen dating site is protected by an organisation such as Online Dating Association or Online Dating Protector. To be part of these associations, the dating site has to offer a certain level of customer support and has to have a moderating team in place.

2. Does the site have a 24/7 moderation team?

Check if the online dating site has a moderation team, and how many hours a day they operate. If there is no one moderating messages, you are extremely likely to be targeted by a scammer, and it will be up to you to recognise that.

3. Can you talk to a support team?

Find out if there is a support line that you can call if you have a concern. Itís important to feel that there is Ďa real personí behind the site that you can flag potential worries to without feeling isolated and vulnerable.

If the three boxes above are ticked, the online dater is ultimately taking positive steps to protecting themselves from becoming a target of online dating scams and other crimes. But, itís also just as important to follow all safety guidance provided throughout the online dating journey before meeting someone in real life. Being aware of online safety practises will protect against being an easy target for first date rape and other crimes.

Hi, Iím Lucy. I am a freelance writer, blogger and mum of two. I like wine, soya lattes and spending far too much money on my kids. My writing is r...Read More