THE SCALE and depravity of Richard Clark’s abuse is sickening.

York Crown Court heard this week that the popular, trusted teacher at a North Yorkshire school was behind a wave of child abuse across the world – 17 children have been taken into care or safeguarded as a result of the investigation into his actions. Police are still unravelling his sick web of abuse and think there may be hundreds more victims.

The court heard he used an array of techniques to trap children at a school in North Yorkshire into sharing indecent images on social media; tricking them into sharing photographs and videos using false identities and emotional abuse.

The case acts as a reminder to families and schools to keep hammering home the message of online safety. But we can’t leave children to take on all the responsibility for navigating their way around sophisticated and dangerous online groomers.

The NSPCC has said the case once again highlights how imperative it is for the Government to force social networks to tackle online child abuse.

The children’s charity says on average, one child per primary school class has been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image online by an adult. It has launched a Wild West Web campaign calling for an independent regular to investigate and fine platforms which don’t do enough to catch groomers.

The response to the issue from the social media companies falls a very, very long way of the mark. Their concern for the safety of their young users appears to come a long way below their desire for profits.

If they won’t change, then the Government must intervene.