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The trouble is that statistics on crimes linked to online dating are sparse.

In 2016, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) released findings on data from police forces around the country. Not all the forces collect data specific to dating apps.

Not all people who report attacks mention whether an app was involved.

Victims, as well as perpetrators, hide crimes: Only an estimated 17% of all rapes, app-linked or not, are reported to police, the NCA said.

All the same, the NCA noted that the incidents had a lot in common.

To date, much of the research on online dating has been conducted by dating companies themselves.

John Leech thinks the situation is new, and dangerous.

A local council member in Manchester, in the north of England, Leech this year launched a campaign to make online dating companies commit to keeping their users safer.

In 2011 began screening US members against a database of known sex offenders, after a woman who said she had been raped brought a class-action lawsuit against the site.

In the UK, Match was also implicated in the case of serial rapist Jason Lawrence, who in 2016 was convicted of raping or assaulting seven women he met on the site, after contacting thousands.

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Not all countries in which sites operate have databases such as Match’s, however, and even those that exist tend to have incomplete data.

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