Any child under the age of 13 is not, in law, considered to be able to consent to sexual intercourse and a safeguarding referral MUST be made there and then, ie. please phone Social Services. If you suspect coercion, abuse or harmful sexual activity the Police MUST be contacted too.
For under 16s making contact themselves, clinicians must assess the competency of the patient and whether they can give informed consent for treatment without parental involvement. It is always advisable to encourage the patient to inform a parent or trusted adult.
In all cases, provide a supportive and empathic approach. Elicit as much detail as possible regarding timing of intercourse, consent, age of partner, parental awareness (and support or lack of), other risks etc. Bear in mind sexual health as well as pregnancy risks. Have a low threshold for onward referral to Unity Sexual Health – and for CC discussion of the case.
- Information for Local Sexual Health Services
- Information around Gillick competence and the Fraser guidelines is available below (2018)
- MDU Guidance in providing Emergency Contraception to under 16s (2019)
- Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare RCOG guidelines for Emergency Contraception (updated 2020)
- GMC Guidance for all doctors working with 0–18-year-old patients (updated 2018)
Alternative Keywords: emergency contraception, UPSI, morning after pill, children, under 16