On Safer Internet Day, ahead of Valentine's Day 2021, Suzy Lamplugh Trust is issuing personal safety advice for individuals dating online during Covid-19. We are also calling for online dating platforms to better protect their users through more robust and transparent reporting procedures.

With a third lockdown in place, online dating has become the principal medium for people to meet romantically. Dating apps have seen a noticeable rise in activity as more people are at home with time on their hands. Match.com reported that their average number of subscribers grew 11% last year; while Tinder reported that the average conversation now lasts 10 to 20 times longer with most people at home and trying out online dating.

With drastic changes in the way we date, individuals now must follow the current Covid-19 restrictions, manage changes in mental health and grapple with a lack of face-to-face interaction. All this can be confusing. Suzy Lamplugh Trust has therefore issued guidance for users of online dating platforms to follow during these unprecedented times:

Dating during the pandemic should still be a fun and safe experience, sometimes it just takes a bit of planning.

Adhere to local Covid-19 restrictions at all time.

Travel arrangements should be independent of the person you are meeting.

Ensure you meet somewhere safe and public for the first time. 

Safety always comes first: trust your instincts.

Act on reporting any incidents that are unacceptable or abusive, on or offline.

Follow the platform's policy on sharing sexual content.

Emotional responses are normal. 

Log any incidents that you believe were unacceptable or abusive.

You only live once - enjoy yourself!


With this rise in online dating sadly also comes a rise in cyber abuse. Sky News reported that between June and August 2020 there were 600 reports of online dating fraud a month, with a 26% increase in reports to Action Fraud compared to the previous year. There have also been reports of hate speech and discrimination. Our report entitled 'Cyber Safety at Work' demonstrated that a third of all workers were experiencing online abuse, with 83% saying it escalated since the start of the pandemic.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust is therefore publishing a list of recommendations for online dating platforms to better protect their users, especially in terms of reporting procedures, focusing on four principal areas: safety guidelines, robust and transparent reporting, safeguarding and ongoing partnerships.

Suky Bhaker, CEO of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, says: "Following the pandemic, there has been a rise in online dating. Online dating should be fun and safe; however, we know there have been increasing reports of online abuse. With this comes the urgent need to safeguard users of online dating platforms. It is vital that platforms have robust and transparent reporting procedures to protect their users."

Representatives of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust are available for media comment by arrangement, please contact [email protected] / Tel: 07747611308

You can read more about this campaign here