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Meeting in person for the first time

There are a multitude of ways to keep safe when meeting someone in person for the first time whether it is a budding romance or just a once-off hook-up. Reading the following tips now can save yourself a lot of time later.

  • Tip 1: Screenshot Your App Conversations

Before you meet someone in person from online, keeping evidence of from your conversations through screenshots is a smart move. Backing up your conversations through screenshots may also help you identify them if you need to report them afterwards as most hook-up or dating apps delete any evidence of contact with someone after you have been “blocked” or “unmatched”.

“I had always been a bit sceptical about online dating, but I decided to give it a try anyway.”

“I was hoping to meet someone special, and I had heard some success stories from friends who had used dating apps. One day, I matched with a guy named David* on a dating app. We started chatting and hit it off right away. We talked about everything from our favourite movies to our childhood memories. However, after a few weeks of chatting, something changed. David started to act differently. He became more demanding and controlling, and he started to make me feel uncomfortable. I tried to ignore the red flags, but they just kept getting more and more pronounced. That’s when I remembered something my friend had told me about the benefits of screenshotting conversations in dating apps. She said that having a record of the conversations could be helpful in case something went wrong. So, I started screenshotting my conversations with David. At first, I felt a bit awkward about doing it, but I quickly realized how useful it was. I had a record of everything that had been said, and I could refer back to it if I needed to.
One day, David started to cross the line. He sent me a message that was abusive and threatening. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. That’s when I pulled out my screenshots. I showed them to a friend, who immediately told me to report the behaviour to the authorities. I also reported it to the dating app, who quickly took action and banned David from the platform.

– Thuần*

  • Tip 2: Meet In A Public Place For The First Time

Tell a close friend or family member where you are meeting the new person and share the person’s profile with them. It is a good idea to meet in a public place such as a cafè, restaurant or a shopping centre as there a lot of people around in case things don’t feel right. It can also be a good idea to send your friend or family your live location while you are meeting this new person for the first time. A number of various apps have this feature including Whatsapp, Messenger, Find my iPhone and Device. You can also agree of a safe word to use a secret message if you need your friend to help.

“I had been chatting with Tijana* on a dating app for a few weeks and we finally decided to meet in person.”

“I was a bit nervous but also excited – this could be my chance to meet someone special. We agreed to meet at a coffee shop in the city, and I made sure to tell a friend about the date. I gave her all the details – who I was meeting, where I was going, and what time I expected to be back. I also made sure to bring my phone with me, just in case.”


  • Tip 3: Trust Your Instincts 

If something sounds too good to be true or does not feel right, then it probably is. If you are in any doubt, get out of the situation as quickly as you can. There is no need to feel guilty or to hesitate.

  • Tip 4: Be Cautious Of Other Risks

Being recorded without your consent

Being voice recorded, filmed or photographed without your consent is illegal. Smartphones and hidden cameras can be easily disguised and so there is always a risk of you being recorded without your knowledge or consent. It is always good to be cautious of your surrounding area to see if there is anything suspicious. Each state and territory in Australia regarding listening devices and surveillance. If you find out you have been recorded without your consent, you can report it to both your local authorities and the eSafety commissioner.


Some people have malicious intent to rob you and so they create fake profiles on hook-up and dating apps so they can achieve this. The police should be called immediately if you have been robbed. Others are also just opportunistic and will steal from you because the opportunity presents itself. It is a good idea to keep track of your personal valuables when you are meeting someone in public. If you invite a new person into your home, lock or hide your valuables such as your passport, licence and birth certificate in addition to any notices or bills that can be used for ID purposes. You can learn more about identity theft here and how to protect your personal identification.

Being attacked

Some people target people for their sexuality or gender and they use hook-up or dating apps to lure LGBTIQA+ people where they are verbally, psychologically, physically and sexually threatened or assaulted. This is known as entrapment. Be wary if someone asks to meet in a quiet or isolated spot. This may be with the intention to harm you or mob you with other members of a group. Call the police immediately if you experience anything like this.

LGBTIQA+ police support

It is important to contact the police immediately if you have been physically assaulted or someone threatens to physically assault you. These LGBTIQA+ support organisations can support you if you need assistance when talking to the police. You can also go to your local police station and ask to speak with the LGBTIQA+ liaison officer to report an incident.