Councils urged to take action over abusers

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A judge said he hopes more local authorities will use civil courts to target men who sexually exploit vulnerable girls in the wake of ‘bold and novel’ legal moves by a city.

Mr Justice Keehan imposed junctions barring 10 men from contacting a teenage girl in Birmingham after concluding that they sexually exploited a 17-year-old girl after analysing evidence at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in Birmingham and London.

He imposed injunctions barring the men from contacting the teenager and from approaching girls they did not know, following applications from council bosses.

Now, in a written ruling on the litigation, the judge said he hopes anyone who sexually exploits children has been given a ‘powerful message’.

“Police came to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence at that time to secure criminal convictions against the 10 individuals,” he wrote.

“Accordingly the local authority decided to take a bold and novel step, namely, to apply for civil injunctions under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

“I very much hope that the stance taken by Birmingham City Council, in close co-operation with the West Midlands Police, will be considered and followed by other local authorities in cases of child sexual exploitation.

“All too often in such cases the only action taken by the authorities, where there is insufficient evidence to mount a prosecution, is in respect of the victim. They are invariably taken into care.

“Whilst that action is taken in the best interests and to protect the young victim, it strikes me as wrong and unfair that no action is taken against the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation.”

A report published by Professor Alexis Jay this summer found 1,400 children had been abused by largely Pakistani-heritage men in Rotherham over 16 years while authorities turned a blind eye because of sensitivities over the ethnicity of offenders.