Dating apps put on notice over violence

People looking online for love could soon need a background check as the federal government considers ways to stamp out sexual violence facilitated by technology.

A meeting on Wednesday between dating app companies, government representatives and police has been described as "an important first step" to increasing online protections.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said there was a discussion about requiring background checks for dating app users.

But she warned law and policy changes could not be made overnight or without proper consultation.

"None of us underestimate the complex issues around privacy, user safety, data collection and management that are involved ... there's no one law that is going to fix this issue," Ms Rowland told reporters in Sydney.

"Many instances of abuse are perpetrated by those without a criminal record or any convictions ... and that's why big focus of the discussion was also on what could be done to encourage respectful online interactions."

Following the meeting, federal, state and territory attorneys-general will be asked to consider criminal justice responses to online violence and abuse as a matter of priority.

Dating app companies were also put on notice and Ms Rowland said there was room for improvement in how user complaints were handled.

"We need industry to improve their action, their transparency and their accountability in how they respond to consumer complaints," she said.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth, who attended the meeting, said there was "no one silver bullet" that would solve sexual violence.

While people with lived experience must have their voices heard in reform, Ms Rishworth said they should not be solely responsible for their safety.

"There does need to be a proactive response, where it is perpetrators and those perpetrating the abuse that are held to account," Ms Rishworth said.

"That it is their behaviour that is addressed and sanctioned, not the focus on victim survivors."

Sexual violence includes online abuse such as revenge porn, sexual harassment, abusive language, threats and controlling behaviour.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said dating apps needed to take more responsibility for cracking down on bad behaviour.

One in three people told the Australian Institute of Criminology they were subject to sexual violence from someone they met on a dating app, including sexual assault or coercion and revenge porn.

A woman dies at the hands of her partner every 10 days in Australia.

Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley said technology could be a power for good and many people were happy after meeting partners online, but there were too many harrowing stories from women who used dating apps.

Dating app Bumble Australia and Tinder's parent company Match Group welcomed the opportunity to discuss online dating safety measures with policy makers.

"We know that domestic and sexual violence is not only an enormous problem in Australia, but across the world, and that women, members of LGBQTIA+ communities, and First Nations are the most at risk," a Bumble Australia spokesperson said.

The company already bans perpetrators of abuse and harassment from the platform, including taking action against members for unacceptable behaviours on other dating apps.

A Match Group spokesperson said their members' safety was critical.

"We remain focused on building safety in everything we do, from leveraging technology to investing in moderation and machine learning tools to partnering with leading safety experts and building innovative in-app safety features," they said.

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