With the sad news of the murder of a Renton mother, concerns about dating, and especially online dating, are probably foremost in many people’s minds. There may be no single action that guarantees absolute safety, but new technology can help people who are part of the dating scene to research the backgrounds of potential dates. Those who advocate against domestic violence probably would emphasize that we should work towards “a world where there is no violence against women.” Until that world exists, here are some tips to help protect yourself:
· Check social media, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, to verify information that the individual has told you.
· Learn how to use Google Image Search (https://images.google.com/).
· Use free public records searches on the Washington State court database (http://dw.courts.wa.gov/?fa=home.namesearchTerms).
· If you have serious concerns, the Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section (WASIS) can provide criminal history conviction records for $12 online at https://fortress.wa.gov/wsp/watch/. Private services such as Intelius (https://www.intelius.com/) can provide a complete background for $50.
· Tell friends where you are going and who you are going with.
· Meet in a public place.
· When you can, get the full name of the person you are dating and find out their workplace.
· Have frank conversation early to establish rules of consent around intimacy.
· Be aware of early signs often exhibited by domestic abusers: possessiveness, entitlement and controlling behavior.
The following article in the Seattle Times provides thoughtful observations about online dating:
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence: