Testimonials – Colleagues

Howard Bath, NT Children's Commissioner

Howard Bath, NT Children’s Commissioner

I am pleased to be able to offer my support for Lucy’s work in the development of culturally relevant approaches to the healing of those affected by trauma. Of the many issues affecting the wellbeing of women and children in Indigenous communities, exposure to family and community violence is one that stands out. It has a devastating immediate impact and its insidious developmental effects on victims can last a lifetime – exposure to family and community violence occurs at a higher rate in the NT than in any other Australian jurisdiction, and mainstream services struggle to adequately address the need gain the trust of victims.
Lucy’s approach is invaluable in that it represents a blending of contemporary research and knowledge on the impacts of trauma with traditional knowledge about healing.  She has years of experience in working in partnership with Indigenous people and in the promotion of local knowledge.  Her work demonstrates that true, respectful service partnerships between mainstream and Indigenous practitioners are possible and result in better communication and a more ready acceptance by those affected by violence and abuse.  – Howard (2014)

Elaine Tiparui, Cultural Advisor, Relationships Australia

Elaine Tiparui, Cultural Advisor, Relationships Australia

“People have seen the difference we have made in the community.  Women have learnt that domestic violence is not good for them.  They’ve learnt how to help their young ones and keep them safe.  They tell each other “look after your family”.  Women are now getting help from other people when they’re feeling unsafe.  Lucy helped young people in school.  Kids have learnt about safe ways of connecting with other relations, speak up for themselves, make good choice for themselves, and go to safe places. 
Lucy is a good teacher.  I learned a lot from attending conferences with Lucy.  We connected with other workers from other communities.  Together, we made a resource for our women and families who are at risk of domestic violence.  We made a video and provided education to our young mums in both communities.  We shared our work at conferences and workshops.   Now that Lucy has left our community, we learnt a lot from our experience, we have been teaching ourselves about how to do things for ourselves and our families.  We have learnt a lot because of a person that respected us as Tiwi people.   Lucy is the one that learnt from me.  Now I want to go out and teach others like mums and families.” – Elaine (2017)


Melinda Tew –
Co-ordinator – AOD and Family Relationship Services, Tiwi Islands
CatholicCare NT (2010-2013)

“Lucy is a community practitioner from heart to head.  For 3.5 years I had the privilege of collaborating with her as part of our work with families from the Tiwi Islands, NT.  Through case management liaison and joint family work, as well as partnership projects including family healing camps, a community garden and numerous group programs, I had the opportunity to learn from Lucy in varied and intense practice settings.  Her creative flair, realism and sense of hope motivates those around her and she skillfully brings forward narrative and community practice theories into action.  Driven by a deep belief in social transformation and in a community’s capacity to heal from within, Lucy is prepared and able to hold the crucial conversations and encourage community ownership.  Organised, efficient and at the same time graciously open to the dynamics of the day, Lucy is an effective therapist, group facilitator and program coordinator.  She has a lens for individual and family needs, as well as broader community issues and works strategically across these levels for greatest positive impact.  With a community vision that finds expression beyond her therapeutic work with remote communities and into various voluntary roles in Darwin; it is clear Lucy is following her calling.” – Melinda (2014)

Cathy Stassi

Cathy Stassi – Child and Family Support Worker – Relationships Australia

“Lucy has helped people to understand about themselves, how to deal with problems they are having – mum, dad and family.”  Lucy has got respect from us, as Tiwi workers working with her, and the people Lucy has done programs with, I’m sure they value her work. Working alongside Lucy made me feel very trustful. Trust is very important to [the kids we work with] and us. Lucy gives us the confidence to deliver the program.”  – Cathy (2014)

“I have acted as Clinical Supervisor for Lucy Van Sambeek over the last 4 years (2011 – 2014). Lucy performed a challenging role for Relationships Australia NT during this time, travelling regularly to two remote communities (Tiwi Islands and Yirrkala).  In these communities, she provided counselling for children and families, a role which she carried out with great skill, professionalism and integrity, using her experience and knowledge in Narrative Therapy and Art Therapy.
Lucy also carried out another significant role during this time, mentoring key local women in both communities to provide culturally appropriate support to children and families. This mentoring role was based in Lucy’s philosophy of empowerment, and it culminated in the co-production of an innovative resource and training package “Healing Our Children”. This package focuses on the impacts of Family and Domestic Violence on children in these communities, and allows community members to access cultural skills in responding to this difficult issue.”   –   Barry Sullivan (Manager, Family and Relationships Services, Relationships Australia, 2014)


Patricia Munkara – Child and Family Support Worker, Relationships Australia

“Lucy is a helpful and respectful person. [Together] we helped the children from the school and even [people] outside the community, she is like a close relation, like she is a Tiwi person, close to us. When I first met Lucy for this job at Relationships Australia, I said “yes I’d like to work with you”.  I was learning, learning, learning.  That was give years ago.  Now I’m holding down a job [because] of what Lucy has taught me. Now I’m thinking what I’m going to do next, for my young Tiwi people, community people.”Patricia (2017)

Lissy Suthers – Manager, Children’s Therapeutic Services, Relationships Australia

“Lucy, and my history began in 2012, where she was my Supervisor for Student Placement.  I wanted experience in working with our First Nation Aboriginal people.  I was very fortunate to have someone so passionate and committed to this work as a mentor.  Lucy taught through her extensive knowledge in community development, and working in an inclusive,  therapeutic and collaborative cross-cultural way of engagement. I can testify that any project Lucy develops and engages in is created through consult and support, harnessing the knowledge of the Aboriginal women she works with. Lucy is a strong advocate for her practice and for the communities she engages with, and has the respect of the colleagues and professionals she works with.” – Lissy (2018)

Jonelle Patton –
Manager, Family and Relationship Services – Relationships Australia NT

“Lucy is a terrific Coordinator- she is dynamic, efficient and highly focused – once she has an idea – she rarely lets go (and often in the face of formidable obstacles). She has a wonderful ability to translate ideas into action as evidenced by co-creating Healing Our Children with the community in Tiwi Islands. She embraces ethical and culturally sensitive approaches; and most importantly – upholds high integrity.” – Jonelle (2018)