Christchurch man still recovering after 'violent' attack by person met on dating app

A Christchurch man has said he thought he was going to die when he was attacked late at night by someone he'd been talking to on a dating app.

Police are now warning people to be vigilant after five teenagers were sentenced in court for similar attacks.

Nearly a year on and Kelly Hopkins is still recovering from the unprovoked, late-night attack.

"It was sudden and it was violent," Hopkins said.

He's had to leave his job, suffers from anxiety and is receiving help for PTSD.

"Thoughts of the attack and the incident has really just filled my life and my thinking," Hopkins said.

Hopkins was one of several innocent men targeted by users of dating app Grindr.

The offenders met their victims through the dating app before luring them to secluded locations late at night and attacking them.

Police are now urging people to take extra steps to protect themselves when meeting up with people that they've met online.

Netsafe chief online safety officer Sean Lyons said "taking some time out to think, take a thought, take a deep breath before you react or respond to what you're seeing".

Lyons also advised people to make sure others are around, take your own transport and tell people where you're going and what you're doing.

In this case gay men were targeted but Lyons said it can happen to absolutely anyone.

"There is no one app that is better or worse any app that allows people to connect could possibly lead to these situations," Lyons said.

Five teenagers were sentenced in the Christchurch Youth Court on Wednesday in relation to attacks on several people in the city last year.

Police said the victims showed incredible courage and that's what's helped convict these offenders. They said while the sentencing will bring some closure it won't undo the mental scars these victims have endured or the pain they've gone through.

Hopkins said the attack changed his life.

"Always follow your instinct, follow your gut, if something doesn't feel right don't go," he warned.

Hopkins hopes others don't have to experience what he did.