A SPATE of sexual assaults after meet-ups from dating apps has led police to issue a warning ahead of the Easter long weekend for anyone thinking of meeting someone for the first time to be aware of their drinking behaviour and their surroundings.
So far this year there have been 16 sexual assaults reported to Redfern police following a meet-up from dating sites where the perpetrator is known to the victim for a short time.
Crime Manager Detective Inspector Despa Fitzgerald said none of the assaults had been random and encouraged those using the apps for meet-ups to take personal safety measures.
“What’s coming out (of the dating app culture) is they’re meeting people for a short amount of time, or through a friend, again for a short amount of time,” Det Insp Fitzgerald said.
“They go out, have a good time, drink and then end up going to a residence or motel room (where the sexual assault happens)”.
Most of the victims were female, and either lived in or had experienced the assault in the Redfern area, she said.
Det Insp Fitzgerald said it was important for people to be aware of their surroundings.
“If you are going to go on these dates then have a look where you are. If you go to a place you’re unfamiliar with, take note of the address, the unit number,” she said.
Det Insp Fitzgerald encouraged people engaging in dating sites to have the Emergency App on their phone and to let friends or a significant other know the expected plan of the evening.
“Tell a friend where you’re going and what time you’re expected to be home and be responsible … in relation to what you drink.”
The number of assaults were probably higher than had been reported, Det Insp Fitzgerald said, but she encouraged victims to come forward for medical treatment and an investigation.
“Our legal action rate is good … where we’ve got willing victims who want to go to supply a statement and are happy to go to court. We’ll lock them (the attackers) up,” she said.
The assaults were reasonably straight forward to investigate as victims have the mobile numbers of their attackers. When perpetrators were found guilty, it generally resulted in jail time — a warning to other would-be perpetrators.
“You will be investigated, you will be charged,” Det Insp Fitzgerald said.
Originally published as Sex assault warning for dating app users