Exploring the Link Between Dating Apps and Sexual Assault: Novel Research Findings

Exploring the Link Between Dating Apps and Sexual Assault: Novel Research Findings

← Back to Webinar Series Page

This webinar originally occurred on April 4, 2023
Duration: 1 hour


Dr. Julie L. Valentine will share background information on dating app usage and user demographics to provide context for research findings on dating apps and sexual assault. Research findings will be presented on sexual assaults committed at the first in-person meeting when the victim and assailant met on a dating app compared to other sexual assaults not associated with dating apps. Practice and policy recommendations will be shared to improve dating app safety. 

This webinar explores the link between dating apps and sexual assault as a growing phenomenon with minimal published research. Research findings on victim, assailant, and assault characteristics will be presented from a retrospective study of sexual assault medical forensic examination charts from 274 dating app facilitated sexual assaults (DAppSA). The purpose of this study was to explore differences in victim and assault characteristics of DAppSA cases compared to other sexual assaults committed by acquaintances not associated with dating apps. The findings indicate that DAppSA cases are more violent sexual assaults with strangulation occurring in one-third of the cases and higher rates of assaultive/penetrative sexual acts. DAppSA victims were more likely to have documented anogenital and non-anogenital injuries due to the increased violent acts in these assaults. Due to these findings, the researchers conjecture that violent sexual predators use dating apps as hunting grounds for vulnerable victims. Recommendations to improve dating app safety in practice and legislative policy will be discussed. 

Valentine, J.L., Miles, L.W., Hamblin, K.M., & Gibbons, A.W. (2022). Dating app facilitated sexual assault: A retrospective review of sexual assault medical forensic examination charts. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, DOI: 10.1177/08862605221130390 

Detailed Learning Objectives

  1. Attendees will expand their knowledge of dating apps usage and user demographics.
  2. Attendees will be able to demonstrate understanding of dating app facilitated sexual assault.
  3. Attendees will consider interventions to improve dating app safety.


  • Dr. Julie L. Valentine | Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Bringham Young University


Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contact us at with any questions and subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.

Related Content

In-Brief Report Series: Digital Transformation of Cold Case Reviews

Date November 2022 Overview Advances in forensic science and investigative capabilities represent opportunities and challenges for allied criminal justice professionals involved in violent crime cold case investigations. Modern techniques and technologies can uncover important insights that may not have been…

Guidance Document on Considerations for Photographic Documentation in Sexual Assault Cases

Date August 2022 Overview Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are medical professionals with specialized training and expertise in medicine, psychology, and forensic science and are qualified to conduct sexual assault forensic examinations. During the sexual assault forensic examination, SANEs may…