BEATEN, bruised and cut, Kristo Crushcov, 16, has come out fighting following a vicious assault he received at the hands of bullies more than a year ago.

He has reacted not with violence or thoughts of revenge but with an appeal to others caught out in racially motivated attacks that has seen him become the voice of a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) campaign to highlight Childline and its role in helping abused children and young people in Wiltshire.

The Corsham teenager said: “The most important thing if you are attacked is not to keep it to yourself but to tell someone. Don’t be embarrassed, don’t bottle it up but tell your parents or your peers or a trusted adult and Childline.”

The NSPCC are promoting Childline in response to a rise in hate crimes in Wiltshire with a backdrop of more than than 200 race hate crimes against children recorded by Avon and Somerset Police last year in their region. Kristo is one of a number of voices they are using to remind young people of Childline in part because he has shown great maturity in dealing with the assault and turning a negative into a positive.

His father Ben Kristo said: “I’m half Bulgarian and Kristo’s mother is Bulgarian but it was the name that people picked on.”

He said it could be because someone is black or is from another culture or even has red hair, but in this case it was simply their surname.

Kristo said that he could have allowed the assault to affect him mentally but by talking about it and taking part in the NSPCC awareness campaign he has been inspired to speak out.

“Friends have said ‘well done’ and stuff like that,” he said, “and they’ve backed me up with good wishes.

“You need to talk about this as it could leave you mentally fractures and it could take a toll on your mental health and stay with you for the rest of your life.”

Head of Childline John Cameron said: “Childhood bullying of this nature can cause long term emotional harm to children and can create further divisions in our society.

“If we see a child bullying another because of their race we need to tackle it head on, by explaining that it’s not ok and how hurtful it is.

“I would urge any child who is being targeted because of their race to contact Childline, and any adult to call the Helpline if they are worried about a child.”