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Care after sexual assault or rape

This resource is intended for children and young people who have had a medical examination at Sheffield Children’s Hospital following a sexual assault or rape. It contains information about some of the concerns you may have and what help we can offer at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. There are some contact details below for other places that may be useful.

We usually arrange a follow-up appointment at the Sheffield Children’s Safeguarding Support Unit with a doctor about 2 weeks after the initial medical examination. This appointment will be given to you at the time of your medical or posted out to you.

Why do I need to come back to the hospital?

The main purpose of the follow-up appointment is to find out how you are, and to see if you need any medical care or counselling. The doctor will be able to arrange for tests to check for sexually transmitted infections if this is needed.

The doctor will explain what they intend to do at the beginning of the appointment and be able to discuss any other concerns that you may have.

Information:

The doctor will not be able to give you the results of the forensic swabs taken as they do not have access to this information.

Could I have caught a sexually transmitted infection?

The doctor at your follow-up appointment will be able to discuss your individual situation with you and arrange testing as needed. If an infection is found they will make arrangements for appropriate treatment.

We do not recommend antibiotics to be given ‘just in case’ to prevent infections as they may not be completely effective and may make future testing and treatment difficult.

What about HIV, AIDS and hepatitis?

HIV and AIDS

The risk of catching HIV or AIDS from a sexual assault is generally very low, though may be increased in certain situations. The doctor will be able to advise on your particular situation.

If your situation is considered to be high risk the doctor will discuss treatment to try to prevent HIV infection.

Hepatitis B and C

Although the risk is generally low we recommend that children and young people who have been raped are given vaccinations to prevent Hepatitis B. This is given as a course of four injections, starting as soon as possible after the assault, the first dose can be given after your medical examination. We will give you a letter to take to your GP to make arrangements for follow-up doses. The full course of injections gives good protection against this serious liver infection which can cause long term illness.

The injections are given:

  • As soon as possible after the assault
  • 1 week later
  • 3 weeks later
  • 1 year later

Currently there is no vaccination to protect against hepatitis C infection. However there are treatments available for patients with the infection.

The doctor at your follow-up appointment will be able to discuss these infections with you in more detail and arrange for blood tests to check for them if needed. This is usually done 3 months after the assault as a positive test may not show up if it is done earlier.

Could I have become pregnant?

A pregnancy test will be offered at your medical. The doctor will be able to discuss possible options with you if it is negative. These may include the morning after pill or insertion of a coil to prevent pregnancy.

If you have taken the morning after pill, the leaflet from the tablet box contains lots of useful information.

A pregnancy test will be offered at your follow-up appointment if needed and the doctor will be able to discuss options with you.

How can I get some counselling?

At your follow-up appointment the doctor will ask about how you are feeling and about what support you already have. They can then put you in touch with a service able to help with your situation. The doctor will discuss possible options with you, including referral to the Safeguarding Support Unit psychologist team.

Useful contact information

Safeguarding Support Unit 0114 226 7803

Please call if you have any concerns or if you need to rearrange your follow up appointment.

Youth clinics

Free confidential information and advice on contraception, pregnancy, sexual health, safer sex, sexuality and relationships.

Sexual Health Sheffield at Royal Hallamshire Hospital
0114 226 8888

For advice, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections if you do not wish to return to the Safeguaring Support unit for follow up.

The Corner
0114 275 2051

Advice and support to young people around drugs and alcohol.

Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service
0114 244 7936

Free and confidential counselling service for women (13 years and above).

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SFG1

Resource Type: Article

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Katherine Teasdale

NHS

Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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