Latest Trends Seen with Domestic and Sexual Violence

Our Faculty member Dr. Scannell was a guest speaker at the University of Rhode Island, talking to forensic students. She was able to share her expertise in sexual assault and risk factors that place college students at risk. If you missed her talk you can watch the video below. or click this link





Risk factors of sexual assault are explored in-depth, including predatory tactics and the vulnerability specific to college students. Provided are key safety tips for online dating as well as recommendations regarding resources and reporting to law enforcement.

In the talk, she shares some insight into risk factors for sexual assault and the use of online dating with college students. Many of the points she discusses were published in a recent article titled “Online Dating and the Risk of Sexual Assault to College Students.” Risk factors of sexual assault are explored in-depth, including predatory tactics and the vulnerability specific to college students. Provided are key safety tips for online dating as well as recommendations regarding resources and reporting to law enforcement.

Safety tips for students regarding using dating apps:

  • Be wary of dates that occur in isolated areas, such as an individual home.

  • Avoid dates that do not use pictures in their profiles, or refuse to send pictures or details of themselves over the app and will only do so outside of the app.

  • Avoid or limit personal details on dating sites, as the individual is then aware of your address, telephone number, and other personal information.

  • Do not be pressured into meeting an individual especially in a location that can isolate you.

  • Avoid being pressured into changing the location of the date, especially if the date started in a public place and the individual is insisting you change to a secluded location.

  • Meet a person from a dating app in a public place, where it is easy to leave such as a café or shopping center.

  • Inform someone else, such as a friend or relative, that you are meeting someone for the first time and share that person’s profile so they are aware of who you are meeting.

  • If the meeting is going poorly or making you feel uncomfortable, make a quick excuse to leave. Do not linger and allow for an opportunity for the date to continue.

  • If an individual doesn't want to meet in person after a period of time of correspondence, stop the online relationship.

  • When sharing personal information, limit the amount of information so that it cannot be searched on the internet; only give a first name or nickname when meeting a date for the first time.

  • Avoid linking social meeting accounts where your personal information and close contact information can be shared or easily accessed.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol or limit alcohol intake on your date.

  • Avoid going to a place of residence on the first few dates.

  • Turn off the geolocation service on your profile so that you cannot be tracked.

Source: Scannell, M. J. (2019). Online dating and the risk of sexual assault to college students. Building Healthy Academic Communities Journal, 3(1), 34-43.

You can now download a pdf version of the article on the website of the Building Healthy Academic Communities Journal.


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