Rotherham Council is to explore whether injunctions can be taken out against suspected child abusers to stop them contacting their victims.
The idea – designed to be used against suspected offenders who there is not enough criminal proof against to secure convictions – is being looked at following similar measures being used by Birmingham Council.
The Midlands authority got a High Court injunction against six men in November who were believed to be involved in the abuse of a vulnerable teenager in the city.
The idea of examining whether such action could work in Rotherham has been suggested as part of a new review into how more can be done in the town to tackle child sexual exploitation.
A report by the council’s overview and scrutiny management board included the proposal on its list of recommendations.
It said: “Following the recent example of Birmingham Council obtaining injunctions against men to protect vulnerable children at risk of sexual exploitation, that the council explores if similar measures can be taken in Rotherham.”
The action was taken in Birmingham because lawyers acknowledged there was not enough evidence to secure criminal convictions against the men ‘at the current time’.
But they argued there was enough to obtain the civil court injunctions, which require proof ‘on a balance of probabilities’, instead of the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard needed for a guilty verdict in a criminal court.
The review has also called for Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings to make available ‘all necessary resources’ for investigations into suspected abusers in current and historic cases.
It also wants to see the Crown Prosecution Service examine what more can be done to prepare victims for the trauma of giving evidence in court.
The review follows the Jay report, which revealed at least 1,400 children in Rotherham had been abused between 1997 and 2013.