Shocking link between online dating and Coast's DV horror
A LINK between online dating apps and serious domestic violence has emerged as police drill down on the Coast's worst cases.
It comes after Queensland police earlier this month mentioned the involvement of social media platforms in their official reports into at least 20 violent crimes last year - including two murders, rapes, assaults, domestic violence and a missing person case.
The correlation has sparked a warning from officers as well as a Coast academic who has researched behaviour related to online interaction.
Sunshine Coast Vulnerable Persons Unit officer-in-charge Dave Bradley was surprised by the number of domestic violence cases where the parties had met online.
Senior Sergeant Bradley said in-depth analysis of serious incidents since the start of the year showed three men who had been charged with strangulation had met their alleged victims on Tinder.
He said another "handful" of serious cases from this year had started on other dating sites such as Plenty of Fish.
Another common link in all was the violence had started about three or four months after the intimate relationships began.
"The patterns are all fairly similar," Snr Sgt Bradley said.
The women injured in the Tinder cases were aged between 19 and 28 while in the other cases they tended to be older.
Snr Sgt Bradley said it was hard to determine whether the violence was due to the number of people meeting online or some other factor but he said it was worth a warning.
"I'm sure plenty of wonderful relationships start with internet dating but people need to be mindful of who they are meeting online.
"If they are domestic violence perpetrators, in a very short time they are in a position of control."
University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer in psychology Dr Rachael Sharman said the nature of online dating meant it was hard for people to verify what their date was telling them about themselves.
"They not only put their best foot forward, they almost put forward an avatar," Dr Sharman said.
She said progressing to intimate relationships very soon after meeting was a massive problem.
Studies have showed "love bombing", where the eventual victim was showered in affection and gifts very early in the relationship, was a common technique of domestic violence perpetrators.
Dr Sharman said people used the technique to quickly get into a position of power.
"The whole thing is a massive act.
"They will try to get you hooked very early, very quickly and one day you will wake up and the real person will be lying in bed next to you."
She said in more traditional relationships, people could often verify a person's character through connections to friends, family members or work colleagues.
"Get to know someone via other people.
"Have people vouch for them."
For 24-hour support phone Queensland's DVConnect on 1800 811 811 or Men's Line on 1800 600 636, NSW's Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
In emergencies call 000.