Shantell commenced a student placement with SANDBAG’s Domestic Violence and Family Counselling Program in September 2017. Whilst juggling family, university studies and life in general, Shantell became a committed and enthusiastic team member.

“Working at SANDBAG has been a rewarding and enriching experience.”

Shantell was given the opportunity to train in the many facets of our domestic and family violence (DFV) service, including talking on the phone with people referred by Queensland Police Service, providing face to face counselling over the medium and long term to women impacted by DFV, receiving quality additional training and supervision, and joining in some of the SANDBAG fun of Christmas and Volunteer Week.

Shantell says, “I came to SANDBAG as a student hoping to learn and develop my identity as a counsellor. What I found was so much more. The support and encouragement I have received from the team at SANDBAG has allowed me to grow, not only as a counsellor, but as a person in ways that will forever shape my life.”

As a DFV counsellor, Shantell has learned to listen and respond to stories of abuse, to understand the effects DFV has on families, to help raise awareness of the prevalence of DFV within our communities and to witness the powerful healing counselling offers SANDBAG’s clients.

After completing her placement, Shantell loved the program and our team so much, she wanted to stay on as a Volunteer Counsellor – and we were delighted to have her! Volunteering gave Shantell the opportunity to continue learning skills and to gain experience which will be vital in the workforce.

In Shantell’s words, “The last two years have been the best start to building a foundation to my counselling framework that I could ever ask for. No mere words can truly express how honoured and privileged I feel to work within the counselling team. The work we do at SANDBAG is important to me both professionally and personally. I believe supporting our clients in the capacity that we do is an important service that plays a fundamental role in supporting and enhancing our community, and I value the chance to be a part of that. My time at SANDBAG is something that will always hold a place in my heart.”

We are happy to share that Shantell has just secured work with another domestic violence service, and will take the in-depth training she received at SANDBAG (as well as at Uni) into a new role, continuing to help women and children to rebuild their lives after the impacts of violence.