Rotherham Council is being sued over its failure to tackle child sexual exploitation.
A solicitor representing women who were allegedly groomed for sex when underage by gangs of men in Rotherham has begun serving claims on the council for failing to tackle the problem, despite knowing about it for years.
David Greenwood has started action on behalf of a handful of women, but is currently gathering evidence in a total of 11 cases, all of which are expected to result in legal action against the council.
Action is also being contemplated against South Yorkshire Police.
Mr Greenwood said: “I am helping 11 victims of child sexual exploitation to pursue claims for compensation from Rotherham Council.
“I am also looking into whether South Yorkshire Police failed these girls.
“From the evidence I have been gathering, it appears that the council and the police in Rotherham knew that a significant number of girls under the age of 16 were either the victims of or were at risk of child sexual exploitation.
“The names of suspects were known, yet neither the council nor the police appear to have taken positive action to prevent further exploitation.
“The women concerned have been exposed to abuse and sexual exploitation.
“They have suffered significant psychological harm and my team of lawyers are committed to helping them.”
The council declined to comment on the legal action.
A police spokeswoman said the force had not received ‘any legal overtures by, or on behalf of, any victims in relation to historic child sexual exploitation in Rotherham’.
Leaked council and police papers revealed agencies in Rotherham had extensive knowledge of the grooming for a decade, but failed to prosecute most cases.
A number of investigations are under way.