Government to hold roundtable on sexual violence on dating apps

Sexual violence facilitated by dating apps has hit unacceptable levels, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has said as she is set to hold a roundtable on the issue.

Rowland and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth will hold the roundtable in Sydney on Wednesday, hearing from representatives from Bumble, Tinder and Grindr, women’s safety experts, as well as state and territory government ministers.

Rowland said she is concerned about a report from the Australian Institute of Criminology that found 3 in 4 survey respondents had been subjected to sexual violence facilitated by dating apps in the past five years.

In the report, sexual harassment was the most common behaviour reported. Abusive and threatening language and unsolicited sexual images were also major issues.

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“The roundtable will hear directly from the online dating industry about their efforts to prevent violence and abuse arising from the use of their services,” Rowland said on Wednesday.
“We’ll hear from experts working in the field about the extent of this problem and what governments, digital platforms, and civil society can do to address these issues and improve safety for Australians.”

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said sexual violence on dating apps is a gender equality issue.

“Dating app violence is gender-based violence. And like all forms of violence, we need to challenge and change the attitudes that lead to this violence occurring in the first place,” Rishworth said.

“We must create communities – both in the physical and virtual world – where everyone is treated equally and with respect. This begins with promoting gender equality.

“The Government’s National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022–2032 recognises the need to address technology-facilitated abuse, as a matter of urgency if we are to achieve our ambition to, end gender-based violence in one generation.

“Everyone deserves to live a life free of violence no matter where they are – and this includes online.”

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