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Just Science Podcast: Just Research of Dating Apps and Violent Sexual Assault Cases

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2022

This second episode in the 2022 Sexual Assault Awareness Month mini-season of the National Instituter of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Dr. Julie Valentine – a researcher, sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), and the Associate Dean of Brigham Young University’s College of Nursing – who discusses sexual assault cases that involve strangulation and dating apps.


An introductory note indicates that while working as a SANE, Dr. Valentine and colleagues identified an increase in sexual assault survivors reporting violent sexual assaults that occurred after meeting someone through a dating app. They also determined that these violent sexual assaults involved higher rates of strangulation. Her research team has developed a large database of just over 8,000 sexual assault cases coded from sexual assault medical forensic examination charts. Approximately 250 variables have been examined from these cases. In 2017, the research focused on the features of sexual assaults in the context of dating app contacts. Dating app sexual assaults tended to occur at the first in-person meeting. An analysis of data from 2017 to 2020 had 1,968 acquaintance sexual assaults, with 14 percent occurring from a dating-app first in-person meeting. One-third of the victims were strangled and had more injuries than other sexual assault victims. Through dating apps, personas are created without being subjected to any criminal background checks or security screening. This means that potential victims have the burden of self-protection. Potential legislative issues to counter this circumstance are discussed in the interview.

Date Published: April 1, 2022