The Fourth R is a group of researchers and professionals dedicated to promoting healthy adolescent relationships and reducing risk behaviours. We develop and evaluate programs, resources and training materials for educators and other front-line professionals who work with youth. In particular, we work with schools to promote the neglected R (for relationships) and help build this Fourth R in school climates. Fourth R initiatives use best practice approaches to target multiple forms of violence, including bullying, dating violence, peer violence, and group violence. By building healthy school environments we provide opportunities to engage students in developing healthy relationships and decision-making to provide a solid foundation for their learning experience. Increasing youth relationship skills and targeting risk behaviour with a harm reduction approach empowers adolescents to make healthier decisions about relationships, substance use and sexual behaviour.
To learn more about the Fourth R, watch our whiteboard video!
Meet the Founding Partners
David A. Wolfe, Ph.D., ABPP, C.Psych.
Dr. Wolfe is Adjunct Professor at the Centre for School Mental Health and Research Scholar at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, Faculty of Education, Western University in London, Canada. He is Director Emeritus of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Centre for Prevention Science and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto (2002-2016). He held the inaugural RBC Chair in Children’s Mental Health from 2002 to 2012 and served as Editor-in-Chief of Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal from 2007 to 2012.
Dr. Wolfe is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Past President of Division 37 (Child, Youth, and Family Services), and received a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). He is a recipient of the Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science from the Canadian Psychological Association and the Blanche L. Ittleson Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Delivery of Children’s Services and the Promotion of Children’s Mental Health from the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He has provided extensive assessment and consultation to child protective services, schools, and the courts with respect to issues of child abuse and violence.
For over 35 years Dr. Wolfe has been active in developing and evaluating violence and abuse prevention initiatives for children and youth. He has broad research and clinical interests in abnormal child and adolescent psychology, with a special focus on child abuse, domestic violence, and developmental psychopathology. His current major research activity relates to the Fourth R, a school-based program to promote healthy, non-violent relationships among youth (www.youthrelationships.org)
Dr. Wolfe received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rochester and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical/Community Psychology from the University of South Florida.
Claire V. Crooks, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Dr. Crooks is the Director of the Centre for School Mental Health and a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Western University. Her main research interests include the development and evaluation of mental health promotion and violence prevention programming, with a particular emphasis on extending evidence-based practice to meet the unique needs of marginalized groups of youth in diverse settings. She and her team are currently working on adaptations and evaluations of the Healthy Relationships Plus program for LGBTQ+ youth in school and community settings, as well as looking at fit and feasibility in the youth justice system. Another major focus of her work is on developing and evaluating culturally-relevant, strengths-based approaches with Indigenous youth. More recently, she was awarded a grant to evaluate MindUP with kindergarten students, within a trauma-informed framework. MindUP is an evidence-based social and emotional learning program that incorporates positive psychology, neuroscience, and mindful awareness.
Dr. Crooks’ other main focus is on family violence. She is a co-founder of the Caring Dads program, which is a parenting intervention for men who have maltreated (or are at-risk to maltreat) their children. She also trains judges, lawyers, and other court professionals as a faculty member for the U.S. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and for the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. In 2005, Dr. Crooks testified before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights on the extent to which Canada is meeting its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2016 Dr. Crooks was appointed to the Scientific Committee for the Status of Women Canada, to advise the federal government on the state of research evidence pertaining to the prevention of gender-based violence.
Dr. Crooks received her B.A. in Psychology from Princeton University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University.
Ray Hughes, M.Ed.
Ray Hughes has over 30 years of experience in education as a teacher, Department Head, University Lecturer, and Consultant. He was most recently the National Education Coordinator for the Fourth R where he coordinated the implementation of the Fourth R in collaboration with partners and school boards.
Previously, Ray was involved in coordinating the implementation of violence prevention programs for 190 schools and 80,000 students in his position as the Learning Coordinator for Violence Prevention with the Thames Valley District School Board in London, Ontario. He was also a member of the Ontario Safe Schools Action Team, whose mandate was to draw on best practices from across Ontario and to advise the Minister of Education on all aspects of school safety. Ray continues to provide regular professional development to superintendents, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students on violence prevention and safe schools initiatives. He has developed and implemented school-based programs related to substance abuse, domestic violence, gender equity, dating violence, human sexuality, interpersonal violence, conflict resolution, and bullying prevention. Ray has also developed a safe schools course for teacher candidates in Faculties of Education.
Ray received his Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (B.P.H.E.) from the University of Toronto, and his B.Ed. (Physical Education and Science) and M.Ed. (Curriculum) from Western University.
Peter G. Jaffe, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Peter Jaffe is the Academic Director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children and a Professor in the Faulty of Education at Western University. He is the Director Emeritus and founding Director of the Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System (London Family Court Clinic). Since 1997, Dr. Jaffe has also been a Faculty member for the U.S. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ program on “enhancing judicial skills in domestic violence cases.”
For over 40 years, most of his research and clinical work has involved women and children who have been victims of abuse and involved with the criminal, family, and civil court systems. His research efforts focus on several areas, including enhancing safety planning and risk reduction to prevent domestic homicides, improving the response of the family court system to abuse victims in the context of custody and access disputes, violence prevention programs for teens entering secondary school, and the process of maintaining sustainable changes for safe schools initiatives.
Dr. Jaffe has been a trustee for the Thames Valley District School Board (formerly the London Board of Education) since 1980, and he has served two terms as Chairperson (1987-88, 1999-2000). He has also served as an expert witness in three Ontario inquests into domestic violence and is a founding member of the Chief Coroner Domestic Violence Death Review Committee.
Dr. Jaffe has been honoured by receiving several awards for his work including the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada for his dedication and contributions to the community . He has also received the Award of Merit from the Ontario Psychological Foundation for his contribution to research and clinical practice in the prevention of family violence. Dr. Jaffe was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in June 2010.