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Acknowledgement
The Women’s and Children’s Health Network acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of Country throughout South Australia. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing and deep spiritual connection and relationship to land, air, sea, waters, community and country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault can feel stressful and overwhelming. It is important to remember that you are the best person to decide about your own health. Find out more information about your options and legal rights.

A sexual assault is traumatic, scary, and confusing. There is no right or wrong way to feel or react. You may experience a wide range of physical and emotional effects from the sexual assault.

Sexual assault is an abuse of power. It is never the fault or responsibility of the victim survivor. People who choose to perpetrate sexual violence are responsible for their actions. Sexual assault occurs within families and in multiple other settings and types of relationships.

Pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault can feel stressful and overwhelming. It is important to remember that you are the best person to decide about your own health.

Talking to someone can help you understand and cope with your feelings. Speaking with a health professional can guide you on your next steps.

Is this you?

If you are 16 years or older and pregnant after being subjected to sexual assault, this brochure explains your healthcare and support options, as well as your legal choices.

If you are under 16 years, contact the Women’s Assessment Service at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Medical concerns

People who have been subjected to sexual assault may have medical concerns. You can talk to your GP about these concerns, including requesting follow up tests and support. You can also contact Yarrow Place to speak with medical and social work teams about your healthcare and counselling options.

Pregnancy options

People who are pregnant after a sexual assault may decide to:

  • continue with the pregnancy and parent the child.
  • have a termination of pregnancy (which means the pregnancy is stopped).
  • continue with the pregnancy and adopt (which means the child is raised by another family).

You may have made a clear decision about your pregnancy and feel comfortable with this. If not, the Pregnancy Advisory Centre provides people with free support, including information about pregnancy options and access to a safe termination service.

If you choose to proceed with the pregnancy, you might feel anxious about some medical examinations or procedures. Navigating through pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood can also bring about worries. The healthcare professionals and other services mentioned can help you address and manage these concerns.

Paternity testing

Prenatal paternity testing may help guide your decision whether to continue the pregnancy or terminate.

Paternity testing can be done from around 10 weeks of pregnancy using a blood sample from you and a blood sample or mouth swab from the other person. There is a cost involved.

Several private laboratories offer this testing. Choose an Australian based laboratory which:

  • is NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited.
  • you can call to discuss the testing process.
  • will submit samples to police if you choose to proceed with an investigation.

You may consider reporting the sexual assault to police, and you have the right to take legal action. After a recent sexual assault, you can request that forensic evidence is collected from your body or clothing to assist an investigation.

There are also important legal choices to consider in relation to the pregnancy.

Forensic evidence (tissue from the pregnancy that can be used to support an investigation) can be collected during pregnancy, pregnancy termination, or after birth, depending on your decision about the pregnancy. You can discuss your options with the service providing your care.

If you take legal action, you may be eligible for compensation under the Victims of Crime Act. Compensation is considered for injuries or conditions that are caused by sexual assault. Pregnancy is classified as one of those conditions.

For more information about eligibility and how to make a claim, contact Victim Support Service on 1800 842 846.

How we can help

  • 24-hour crisis response (medical, forensic and support) after a recent sexual assault
  • Collection of forensic evidence to support legal action now or in the future at your request
  • Trauma specialist counselling including outreach counselling in metropolitan and country areas
  • Medical care and health checks related to concerns arising from sexual assault
  • Referral to other services if required
  • Short term counselling for partners, family, and friends
  • Therapeutic groups
  • Advocacy

Service information

  • All services are free
  • Interpreters can be arranged
  • You do not need a referral
  • Services are by appointment

Support

  • Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service - 1800 817 421 (24/7)
  • Pregnancy Advisory Centre - Counselling to support decision making - 08 7117 8999
  • Adoption Services - Information for people considering adoption - 08 7117 8999
  • SAPOL - Contact Police Assistance 131 444, Sexual Crime Investigations 08 8172 5555 (business hours) or attend a local station
  • 1800 RESPECT – National domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service - 1800 737 732 (24/7)
  • Lifeline - 24/7 Crisis support and suicide prevention service - 131 114 or 139 276 for support for Aboriginal people

For pregnancy advice

  • Make an appointment with your GP.
  • Women’s Assessment Service - Healthcare during pregnancy, labour and soon after childbirth - 08 8161 7000
  • Health Direct - Health information and advice - 1800 022 222 (if hearing or speech impaired 1800 555 677)
  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby - Pregnancy advice and support - 1800 882 436
  • SHINE SA - Inclusive sexual health and wellbeing services - 08 8300 5300
  • Refugee Health Service - Primary health services for newly arrived refugees -
    1800 635 566