Rotherham grooming
(Clockwise from top left) Mohsin Khan, Razwan Razaq, Adil Hussain, Zafran Ramzan and Umar Razaq were founding guilty of grooming teenage girls in 2010

Victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham are seeking up to £100,000 each in compensation after a report stated officials failed to prevent the abuse over a 16-year period.

An independent investigation found evidence of "appalling" abuse between 1997 and 2013, involving as many as 1,400 children in the town of 250,000 people.

The report condemned a "collective failure" by both the police and the local council to protect "some of the most vulnerable children in the borough".

Fifteen girls abused by gangs of men in the South Yorkshire town are reportedly suing police and council officials for up to £100,000 each, lawyers said. The total compensation figure is expected to be as much as £14m, according to reports.

David Greenwood of Switalskis Solicitors, who is representing the 15 victims, told AFP that they were seeking compensation because the abuse was not stopped sooner.

"Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police missed clear opportunities to prevent the sexual exploitation of dozens of girls in Rotherham," he said.

Professor Alexis Jay, who led the inquiry, said in a summary of her findings on Tuesday: "It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that the victims suffered."

"They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated.

"There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made witness to brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone.

"Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators."

The South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright, who was the local council member in charge of children's services during some of the time when the abuse took pace, resigned from the Labour party over the scandal.

Yet Wright, who was head of children's services from 2005 to 2010 before being elected regional police chief in 2012, said he would not step down from his current post.

"Much progress has been made since I was elected as commissioner in terms of supporting victims, taking preventive action, increasing awareness of the issue and bringing criminals to justice," Wright said in a statement.

"I was elected to deliver the people's policing and crime priorities in South Yorkshire and I intend to see that duty through."

Amid increasing calls for him to resign as PCC, Labour have threatened to suspended Wright if he did not voluntarily stand down. Home Secretary Theresa May has also put pressure on Wright to quit.

The head of the local council, Roger Stone, resigned immediately after the publication of the report which detailed "blatant" failures, including officials ignoring numerous reports of exploitation or victim-blaming.

In 2010, five men were found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex in Rotherham.