SAFE DATING GUIDE
Making new connections can be a very exciting and emotional experience, but it is also important to take some basic safety and security precautions before meeting that thrilling new connection. To assist our community members in this endeavor, we have developed this Safe Dating Guide. Below are examples of things you can do to enhance your safety while using Connect. Please note that these are simply recommendations and are not meant to be taken as guarantees.
BEFORE CONNECTING IN PERSON
Use different photos in your Connect profile. To avoid another user from locating your other social media accounts and possibly determining your location.
Research the other person online. Perform online searches of the person to see if anything seems suspicious or out of the ordinary.
Avoid suspicious profiles. Be skeptical of those profiles with limited information available.
Block or report suspicious profiles. Do not hesitate to block or report profiles that seem fake or malicious. Examples to watch for are:
- Requests for money
- Requests for photographs
- Request for your phone number and to meet/talk outside of Connect
- Claims to be recently widowed with children
- Poor grammar
- Too aggressive and demanding
- Suggest breaking the law and/or other suspicious illegal activity
Do not share personal information. Never give any of your personal information at this stage.
Create a Safety Plan. You should contemplate creating a Safety Plan before the meeting to assist you prepare for any uncomfortable scenarios that may develop. This will help minimize confusion inevitably caused by stressful situations.
CONNECTING IN PERSON
Communicate by video before the meeting. This will allow you to confirm the other person’s identity before meeting them in person. If they resist, that could be a good sign to cancel the meeting.
Meet in a public place. Choose a familiar place in a well-lit area filled with other people, such as a restaurant, café, or coffee shop.
Tell your family and/or friends. Provide as much detail as possible to family and/or friends including the name/description of the other person, location of the meeting place, and the time and expected length of the meeting.
Bring your cell phone. Always carry your cell phone during the meeting. You should also check in with family and/or friends during the meeting to provide them updates.
Be responsible for your own transportation. Never share transportation with the other person. Either drive yourself or arrange a ride-share option for yourself only.
Use alcohol responsibly. If you choose to consume alcohol during the meeting, please do so responsibly. Never leave your drink unattended and do not allow the other person to retrieve the drinks out of your sight. It is not recommended to use drugs either before or during the meeting as that could affect your judgment. If you choose to engage in drug use, please know your limits and how they may interact with alcohol to alter your perception of events.
Trust your judgment and common sense. If you become uncomfortable at any time during the meeting, find a safe exit from the situation. Consider enlisting the help of the staff at the place you are meeting to safely remove yourself. You should rely on the Safety Plan established before the meeting.
AFTER CONNECTING IN PERSON
Consent. Before engaging in any sexual activity, consent must be clearly communicated by both individuals at every stage. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by either person. No certainly means No!
Protection. Remember to protect yourself and the other person by utilizing safe sexual practices. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) can be greatly reduced by using basic safe sex precautions.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
1-877-739-3895 – nsvrc.org
RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-4673 – rainn.org
National Human Trafficking Hotline
1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 – humantraffickinghotline.org
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 – thehotline.org
VictimConnect – Crime Victim Resource Center
1-855-484-2846 – victimconnect.org
LGBT National Help Center
1-888-234-7243 – glbthotline.org
1-877-565-8860 (US) or 1-877-330-6366 (CA) – translifeline.org
1-800-230-7526 – plannedparenthood.org
Action Fraud (UK)
0300 123 2040 – actionfraud.police.uk
National Health Service (UK)
1800 737 732 – 1800respect.org.au
In an emergency, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency/emergency number.