A bill in consideration will give extra measure of safety for singles looking for an online love connection.
The Utah Senate will soon vote on a bill that would allow people to search check the criminal history of people they meet on dating apps.
The House passed the bill with a unanimous vote on February 19th.
Risk for dating abuse or harassment have increased with the increased demand for online dating apps. Dating app user Emmilyne Linton said that she is excited and worried when she uses dating apps.
“I went on a date with this guy and I made sure to have friends come and make it a group date just in case,” she said.
Linton is not the only one concerned about going on a date with someone from dating apps.
Ex-dating app user Brooke Perkins said that she stopped using online dating apps because she was nervous about the potential danger that came with using the app.
Brooke said, “I get a little nervous, sometimes, meeting up with people that I’ve only messaged and never seen before.”
Data from the Pew Research Center shows that 46% of women received sexually explicit messages or images they didn’t ask for and 11% of women experienced physical threats while using dating apps.
Men using online dating apps also reported abuse and threats, but they make up less than half of women who are harassed.
The risk of going out with criminals will hopefully be eliminated with the bill.
Lieutenant Jeff Long from BYU Police fears that this bill might create a false sense of security, though.
“Just because they don’t have a criminal record, doesn’t mean that they have that propensity or that desire or [whether] their intent is to do harm or to perpetrate on somebody,” Lieutenant Long said.
Long said that most of the cases he investigated happened when people put blind trust in others.
“Until you really understand this person you are dating, just be super cautious,” said Long.
If the bill passes, it will allow Utahns to have access to xChange, Utah court’s public case management system.
Online dating technology users will pay a reasonable fee to conduct a limited amount of searches without having to pay a monthly subscription.
Go to le.utah.gov for more information.