Dublin Rape Crisis Centre warns dating apps are playing a role in rise of sexual assaults

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The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre says it has seen a 36% increase in the number of victims of recent rape and sexual assault seeking treatment.

The Centre is warning users of dating apps to exercise extreme caution, following the major increase in the numbers.

Staff at the centre accompanied 295 people to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in Dublin's Rotunda Hospital last year, compared to 221 in 2014.

Rise in reports in the UK

There has been a huge rise in crime reports involving dating apps in the UK - just 55 cases were recorded in 2013, compared to 412 last year.

The applications may not have been used directly in the crime they're linked to, but they have been mentioned in police reports. Reported allegations include rape, child grooming, and attempted murder.

The numbers might be relatively small - Tinder says it has had more than 10 billion matches on its app but campaigners say they are cause for concern and are likely just a fraction of the true figure.

Tech companies are keen to stress that threats are present in real life as much as online.

In a statement, Tinder said: "People with bad intentions exist in coffee shops, bookstores, on social media and social apps", that these examples represent a "minuscule percentage" of experiences, and that they take users' safety seriously.

Potential users of these apps are being warned that there are people who are preying on people in vulnerable situations, and not to share personal information with anyone until they are absolutely sure who they are communicating with.

Ellen O'Malley Dunlop, Chief executive of The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the danger around apps:


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