Online dating

Helping you make online dating an enjoyable, safe and fun experience.

Online dating sites take the traditional matchmaking process online and allow people to meet one another via the internet.

The vast majority of people using dating sites are sincere and honest in the information they provide and in their reasons for joining. However, there are exceptions, and you need to be aware of how to keep yourself - and your bank account and savings - protected while meeting people online.

Four top tips for online safety:

  • Never disclose private information on online dating sites
  • Be very careful about how and when you meet people in person
  • Take every precaution that profiles you are looking at are genuine
  • Never be tempted to send or transfer money to people you meet online, however unfortunate their story

For further information about the risks of online dating and how to stay safe, visit Get Safe Online.

If you decide to meet face-to-face with someone you've met online remember:

1. Plan it. Say it. Do it.

It's your date. Agree on what you both want from it before you meet up.  Don't feel pressured to meet before you're ready or for any longer than you're comfortable with - a short first date is fine.

2. Meet in public.  Stay in public.

The safest plan is to meet somewhere public and stay somewhere public.  Make your own way there and back and don't feel pressured to go home with your date. If you feel ready to move to a private environment, make sure your expectations match you date's. Always let someone know where you are going and who you are meeting. Arrange for a friend or family member to call you during the meeting to make sure everything's ok.

3. Get to know the person, not the profile.

The way people interact online isn't always the same face-to-face. Don't be offended if your date is more guarded when meeting in person, or if things don't progress as fast face-to-face.

4. Not going well?  Make your excuses and leave.

Don't feel bad about cutting a date short if you're not keen. You don't owe the other person anything, no matter how long you've been chatting or what's been suggested.

5. If you're raped or sexually assaulted on your date, help is available.

No matter what the circumstances, sexual activity against your will is a crime. Police and charities are here to help and support you.

For help and advice about rape and sexual assault visit our help page.  In an emergency, always dial  999.

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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