Emergency contraception after a rape or sexual assault

As part of the forensic medical examination (FME) you'll be offered an assessment to ensure that your immediate healthcare needs are met. This may include testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and arranging any necessary appointments at your local sexual health service.

The sexual assault response co-ordination service (SARCS) will also check if you are at risk of pregnancy.

Your emergency contraception options

Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy following non-consensual vaginal sex. Emergency contraception would not be offered to those currently on any form of contraception, unless there's a reason it may not have worked. For example, if you didn't have the chance to take your contraceptive pill on that day.

There are 2 kinds of emergency contraceptive pill (often called the 'morning after pill'). Levonelle has to be taken within 72 hours (3 days). ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours (5 days).

Both pills work by preventing or delaying ovulation (release of an egg). Emergency contraception is best taken as soon as possible to be effective.

Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs.

If you choose to contact the sexual assault self-referral service you will be contacted by a healthcare professional who will discuss emergency contraception options with you.

If you choose not to contact the service, you can get the emergency contraceptive pill free from:

Read more information on emergency contraception

Last updated:
04 April 2022