The Connecticut House of Representatives approved legislation today introduced by State Representative Mae Flexer (D-Killingly, Plainfield, Sterling) that will make internet dating safer. Flexer’s bill (HB 5866) which was passed with bipartisan support would require internet dating sites charging fees to provide their customers with safety tips and advice designed to make their dating experience, both on- and offline, safer. These include:
* Act with caution when communicating with any stranger who wants to meet you.
* Never include your last name, e-mail address, home address, phone number, place of work, or any other identifying information in your internet profile or initial e-mail messages.
* Stop communicating with anyone who pressures you for personal or financial information or attempts in any way to trick you into revealing it.
* If you choose to have a face to face meeting with another member, always tell someone in your family or a friend where you are going and when you will return.
* Never agree to be picked up at your home. Always provide your own transportation to and from your date and meet in a public place with many people around.
“With an estimated 20 million users, online dating sites have become a new place for sexual predators and financial scam artists to look for victims,” said Flexer. “Today we approved a simple common sense fix to state law to ensure that Connecticut consumers who use Internet dating services are fully informed and safer.”
Match.com recently announced that it will begin screening its customers against the national sex offender registry. The announcement was made after a California woman sued Match, after she was sexually assaulted while on a second date by a man she met on Match.com. The accused rapist has a violent history involving sex assault cases.
If Flexer’s bill becomes law, Connecticut would become the third state to regulate internet dating sites joining New York and New Jersey who have passed similar legislation. The bill now heads to the Connecticut State Senate for consideration.
In only her second term at the legislature, Flexer has become a strong voice for victim’s rights. As head of the Speaker’s Task Force on Domestic Violence, she was responsible for introducing and leading passage of a three-part package of reforms during the 2010 session that led to the most sweeping changes to the state’s domestic violence statutes in almost 25 years.