Protect Yourself Against Domestic Violence when Dating Online

Concerns about online dating are foremost in many people’s minds, after the sad news of the murder of Ingrid Lyne, a Renton nurse and mother of three.

Safety in the context of online dating is of particular concern. Online dating is largely anonymous; potential daters provide little, if any, background information, and the information is self-disclosed.

Moreover, websites are not liable for the accuracy of their users’ content. In 2013, Mary Kay Beckman unsuccessfully sued for failing to properly warn users of the risks of online dating. After dating for a week, her online date later attacked her repeatedly causing severe injury. Though the assailant was imprisoned, the lawsuit against was dismissed.

While no single action assures complete safety, there are now resources that can help people research the backgrounds of potential dates.

Online Dating Protection Tips

Advocates against domestic violence work towards a world where there is no violence against women. Until then, here are some tips to help protect yourself:

Check social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin, to verify information the individual has disclosed online or has told you.

  • Use reverse Google Image Search to make sure the account and photo are real.
  • Use free public records searches on the Washington State court database to search for criminal and civil court case records.
  • Contact the Washington State Patrol Identification and Criminal History Section (WASIS) and request criminal history conviction records for $12 online.
  • Utilize private services such as Intelius can provide a complete background for around $50.
  • Obtain your date’s full name and their workplace.
  • Inform friends where you will be and who the online date is.
  • Meet in a public place.
  • Early on, establish rules of consent with your date regarding intimacy.

Domestic Violence Red Flags

Be aware of early red-flag behaviors often shown by domestic violence abusers including the following:


Questions about who you talk to, accusations of flirting, and jealousy of time spent with others.

Controlling behavior and Isolation:

Control of movement, friends, communication with others, and finances, attempts to isolate you by severing ties to outside support and resources, labeling friends and family as “trouble makers.”

Blaming others and hypersensitivity:

Blaming others for all problems, blaming you for their feelings, being easily insulted and feeling personally attacked at benign comments.

Insensitivity to Animals/Children:

Treating animals brutally or being insensitive to the pain of animals or children.

Verbal abuse:

Intentionally saying cruel or hurtful things, degrading you, demeaning accomplishments.

Rigid sex roles:

Expecting you to serve them and viewing you as inferior.

Additional information and resources regarding domestic violence are available at Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

If you have been dating online, and you find yourself in need of legal advice, please contact the Weintraub Law Office, and schedule a low cost consultation with a top ranked Seattle family law attorney.