Source: New Zealand Police (District News)
Swiping right this weekend? Have fun but remember to be safe.
Auckland Police are reminding the public to be vigilant when meeting new people online this summer.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard, who oversees Auckland City’s Adult Sexual Assault Team, says Police receive a number of reports of sexual offenses involving dating apps.
These popular dating apps include Tinder, Bumble, Grindr and Badoo.
“Anecdotally, our information suggests there is around one report a week to Police in Auckland this year relating to sexual offending involving dating apps,” says Detective Inspector Beard.
“We also know that sexual or other offending in these scenarios often goes under-reported to Police. One incident is one too many.
“While there is no current indication of a rise in reports of sexual offending involving dating apps, every person has the right to be safe in their dating lives.
“Historically we have dealt with increases in reports of sexual offending to Police over the warmer summer months in dating and nightlife settings.”
It pays to be vigilant with people you don’t know – whether that’s online or in person.
Detective Inspector Beard says it’s also a reminder for men to check their own behaviours while meeting up with people.
“Just because you are meeting up with someone and you’re having a good time doesn’t automatically give you consent.
“Consent must be given; consent cannot be assumed, and it can also be withdrawn at any time.
“Sexual violence is not part of consenting and there is not tolerance for this sort of offending.”
In some cases it is best for one party to make their excuses and leave in a situation you may not be comfortable with.
“Don’t feel bad about cutting a date short. It’s important to remember to trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
“If you chose to meet someone you don’t know for the first time, always meet in a public place and let someone know where you are going and who you are meeting.”
Detective Inspector Beard says Police aren’t aware of an increase in reports of drink spiking in the city, but it is good practice to be vigilant to suspicious behaviour regardless.
“There is no tolerance for any inappropriate or illegal behaviour.”
The best rule of thumb is to always keep an eye on your own drink and don’t accept drinks from a stranger.
“Look out for your friends. If someone has had too much to drink, make sure they get home safely.”
KEEPING SAFE ONLINE:
• If you are meeting someone for the first time, meet in a public place.
• Tell someone where you’re going and who you are meeting
• Trust yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t feel bad about cutting the date short.
• If you feel unsafe, call 111 immediately.
KEEPING SAFE IN TOWN:
• Keep an eye on your drink
• Report any suspicious activity to bar staff and Police
• If you feel unwell, seek medical assistance immediately
Note for media:
Detective Inspector Scott Beard is available for interviews to speak to this release. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to arrange a time.
Jarred Williamson/NZ Police