1. ITV Report

Online daters warned after man arrested on suspicion of rape

Police are warning those looking for love online to take precautions after a Grimsby man was arrested on suspicion of raping a woman he met via a dating app.

Editorial Image Credit: Press Association

The 27-year-old was arrested in connection with the allegation yesterday.

He remains in police custody at this time and an investigation has been launched.

Today officers from the force cyber crime unit are highlighting the case as part of an ongoing drive to highlight the potential dangers around online dating.

Earlier this year, the National Crime Agency’s Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) identified a significant increase in the number of reports to UK police forces about serious sexual assaults carried out by offenders who have met their victims through online dating.

Most of these assaults take place the first time they meet face-to-face and it is feared that potential victims are being lured into letting their guard down – not thinking of those they meet as strangers.

Online relationships tend to progress far more quickly that those offline, as people feel more able to be more open and emotionally honest.

The result of this is that individuals may then have a sense of being at more advanced stage in the relationship by the time they meet the person face-to-face and no longer regard them as a stranger, even though it is the first time they are meeting.

This can lead to individuals taking more risks than they otherwise would and putting themselves into more vulnerable situations.

– Detective Inspector Rich Osgerby

Humberside Police have offered some steps you can take to help protect yourself when online dating. These include:

  • Always use a dating website accredited by the Dating Association
  • Inform the moderator of any inappropriate behaviour
  • Think about your user name, avatar and online manner. Make sure none of them are overtly sexual, as they may attract unwanted attention or give out the wrong impression.
  • If you are meeting someone you have been talking to online in the real world, use your own transport and meet somewhere public – don’t be tempted to go to their home.
  • Make sure you let a friend or relative know where you are going, who you are meeting and contact them to let them know you are home safely when the date has finished.
  • Don't accept a lift to another place where you can't be contacted.
  • Moderate your alcohol intake and don't leave your drink unattended.