Our History

SWAAY was founded in 1989 to care for boys and young males exhibiting sexually harmful behaviours. Our approach has paid dividends for the many youngsters who have passed through our doors.

In the 1980s, SWAAY was founded by two social workers who set out to deliver specialist care services for boys and young males affected by sexually harmful behaviour. They understood these vulnerable young people had invariably suffered from sexual or other abuse in early life and needed a holistic care environment that would protect them and the community from harm, while also helping them to move on from past traumas.

Duly inspired, our founders established SWAAY, creating registered residential homes, a therapy centre and a school, which would provide these young people with a safe home life, full-time education and effective therapeutic treatment.

Early years

Working with local authorities in the Thames Valley, SWAAY accepted its first young person in 1989. In the early 1990's Dr Arnon Bentovim, then a Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health at University College, London, became associated with SWAAY  and his early links evolved into a fully-fledged partnership in 1993. This relationship continues today and has helped us become one of the UK’s leading care providers in our field.

Along with Forensic and Clinical Psychologist Richard Beckett and Psychiatrist Dr Paul Flower, Dr Bentovim is active in our day-to-day therapeutic care, providing us with professional consultancy and working directly with many of our young people.

Leading research

In 1997, SWAAY sponsored the Adolescent Sexual Abuser Project (ASAP) with financial support from the Home Office – a programme widely used in UK Young Offenders Institutions and similar centres in Europe. We have also contributed to research by the Institute of Child Health and continue to provide insightful analysis and thought-leading studies in the care of young abusers.

We are proud that our holistic approach and experience has made us a driving force in the care of the young people we seek to help.