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OPP reminding everyone that they are never alone on Bullying Awareness Week

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Oxford County OPP wants to remind everyone they are never alone.

This week is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Ontario, and the OPP are reminding youth and parents of the potential dangers of bullying in schools.

According to police statistics, 75 per cent of people have been affected by bullying and bullying is known to cause serious harm such as headaches, depression, anxiety and an increased risk of suicide.

Oxford OPP const. Lisa Narancsik said they encourage children who are being bullied to speak with their parents.

“We encourage children to make sure they’re talking with their parents,” she said. “If something’s happening to them at school, make sure they’re going and talking to their teachers, principals, secretaries, whoever they’re comfortable talking to. Also, making sure they’re going and talking with their parents, keeping those lines of communication open so they can get the help they need and making sure it’s getting stopped.”

Narancsik also said that parents should watch for changes in behaviour. She said that if a child is being bullied they may not want to go to school or be anxious about it, and there may also be signs of depression.

“Parents should also feel free to communicate with schools to make sure that everything’s ok at school,” Narancsik said.

Bullying occurs, and Narancsik said that even one instance of bullying is too much.

“Like everything else we just need to keep educating people,” she said. “Giving them information and raising awareness of how to prevent it and how to stop people from being victimized.”

There are many resources for people who are being bullied or know someone who is being bullied. These resources are aimed at helping people develop strategies, connect with support services and identify healthy relationship alternatives.

Some of these resources include: Kids Help Phone, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Government of Ontario’s website.

OPP inspector Robyn MacEachern said in a release that the OPP also encourages communities to work together to develop bullying prevention strategies.

“It is important to continue to encourage community support,” MacEachern said. “As community safety and wellbeing in Ontario is everyone’s responsibility.”

Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week will run until Nov. 26.

bchessell@postmedia.com

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