Social Action and Research Centre

SARC is part of Anglicare Tasmania. For the past 20 years we have undertaken research, policy development and advocacy towards achieving a just Tasmania, successfully influencing government and decision-makers to create new services, review and reform existing policy, and improve programs to help Tasmania’s most disadvantaged people and communities.

Qualitative and quantitative social research is a fundamental focus for SARC’s work. Our qualitative research allows the voices and lived experience of Tasmanians to be directly heard. In some cases it draws on Anglicare service delivery expertise and clients. Our quantitative research utilises statistical evidence to show demographic and other trends and make the case for systemic change.

We also engage in social action – fighting for fairness, equality and justice through systemic change. SARC engages in social action through policy development, advocacy and campaigning. Our advocacy involves directly lobbying government regarding social justice issues, connecting the work of SARC to broader public policy debates and creating opportunities for networking and collaboration to achieve social change.

SARC is unique in the Tasmanian social policy and community sector landscape, and among only a small group of similar entities nationally. Our work covers the priority social issues that affect Tasmanians: housing and homelessness, mental health, gambling, disability, out-of-home care, ageing, transport, poverty, cost of living, food security, employment and education. Three things that make SARC unique are:

  • We are independent and beholden to no external funding sources or agendas, allowing us to set our own priorities and operate according to our own values.
  • We are connected to the largest NGO in Tasmania which delivers services across the state, grounding our work directly in the daily experiences of low income Tasmanians.
  • We explicitly focus on Tasmania and the social issues that directly impact our state and our people.


Vulnerable children, young people and their families

Protecting our youngest citizens

There are many people in our society who, through no fault of their own, have been left voiceless. When this occurs, it is all too often the youngest people in our communities who suffer.

As of June this year, there are 1203 children in out-of-home care in the state, a number that has increased in the last year. We already know young people are over-represented in the Tasmanian homeless population and on any given night, about 190 people aged between 12 and 18 do not have a home to go to.

On top of this, Tasmania has particular challenges with low rates of educational attainment, particularly among children who are experiencing disadvantage.

We need to be working together, alongside all levels of government, community organisations and schools, to ensure our youngest citizens get the good life they deserve.

Latest reports and submissions

Affordable housing and homelessness

A home is more than just a roof over your head

If you can’t afford to buy a house and you struggle to compete for a rental property, what happens next? Tasmania is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, but it’s not just about putting a roof over your head, it’s about finding a home.

The options for low-income Tasmanian families are very limited. When searching for an affordable home, many families will live in a series of short-term, problematic housing situations, often relying on the help of family or friends to put them up temporarily.

This instability has an impact on the health and well-being of the family, is challenging for maintaining stable education for children and can make employment or looking for work very difficult.

Essentially we need more homes across various housing types – public and social housing, private rental homes, and affordable homes to buy.

Download our 2020 Rental Affordability Snapshot here

Latest reports and submissions

Pokies reform

Pokies cause harm

Anglicare has more than 20 years’ experience providing services to people in Tasmania whose lives have been adversely affected by gambling.

We know poker machines cause harm, they cost too many people their health, relationship, job or home. Anglicare’s research and service experience supports the removal of poker machines from pubs and clubs.

The Tasmanian Government is currently drafting a bill for poker machines to remain in pubs and clubs through to the year 2043. Join us and take action today, email your local Legislative Councillor and tell them you want your local community to be pokies-free.

Join our pokies cause harm campaign

Meet the team

  • Lindsey Fidler | Research and Policy Analyst

    Lindsey is a sociologist who has been advocating for effective social policy and community programs for disadvantaged communities since 1990. She has worked within UK and Australian community, government and higher education sectors, conducting and commissioning social research and leading research, policy, campaign, advocacy and communications teams.

    She is interested in creating systemic change in how we invest in and organize ourselves in a poverty-informed, inclusive way. Her work has help shape UK welfare benefits, student finance and housing standards, London residents’ education and employment opportunities and Tasmanian family support. She attended the Queen’s Garden Party in recognition of her contributions to UK education and welfare policy development.

    SARC Team: Lindsey Fidler

  • Margie Law | Policy Analyst

    Margie has a wealth of experience in the Tasmanian policy environment. She has spearheaded SARC’s campaign and policy work on poker machine reform, and she regularly works on issues relating to poverty and utilities, housing, transport and mental health.

    Margie regularly collaborates with our service delivery colleagues in Anglicare Tasmania to distill their invaluable experience on the front lines into effective submissions to government. She also conducts policy and campaign work in international aid and development, particularly in the Mekong region.

    SARC Team: Margie Law

  • Teresa Hinton | Senior Research Officer

    Teresa has over 20 years experience as a social researcher in Australia and the UK. She trained as an anthropologist and has subsequently been able to use her research skills in a number of different environments including research institutes and centres, local government, the community sector, advocacy and campaigning organisations and in advising government. She came to SARC 10 years ago bringing with her extensive research experience in homelessness, and in responding to multiple and complex needs and in the disability sector.

    At SARC she has developed a particular interest in how best to hear and strengthen the voices of people who use services and ensure that their lived experience is acknowledged and used in legislative reform, policy development, service design, service delivery and evaluation.

    SARC Team: Teresa Hinton

  • Dr Catherine Robinson | Research and Analysis

    Catherine is a social researcher, international scholar and national advocate on issues related to homelessness including complex trauma and violence. She is a sociologist by training and has a broad interest in social suffering, social care, compassion fatigue and ethics in research with vulnerable populations. Her current research focuses on the needs and experiences of highly vulnerable teens in Tasmania.

    Catherine returned home to Tasmania and joined SARC after 13 years as an academic at University of Technology, Sydney. Her key publications on homelessness include Beside One’s Self: Homelessness Felt and Lived (Syracuse University Press) and (with Chris Chamberlain and Guy Johnson) Homelessness in Australia (NewSouth Publishing).

    Catherine was also Co-Host (with Indira Naidoo) and Series Consultant on the Blackfella Film/SBS documentary Filthy Rich and Homeless which screened in June 2017.

    SARC Team: Catherine Robinson

Our publications

View all

SARC’s Social Action Series #1 – A public health approach to ending unaccompanied child homelessness in Tasmania

This SARC Action Series paper provides a comprehensive public health approach to ending unaccompanied child homelessness. It guides the reader through a suite of actions to both prevent and intervene in children’s unique experience of being without a home and without access to the consistent care of a parent or guardian. Download

#StayHome? The impact of Covid-19 on unaccompanied homeless children in Tasmania

This is an interim report from the research project #Stayhome. Drawing on the voices of community support workers, this research was designed to  capture the wide-ranging impacts of mandatory stay at home and social distancing directives on children aged 10-17 who were alone and without a stable place to stay when Covid-19 reached Tasmania. Download

Rebalancing the Scales: Access to justice for parents in the Tasmanian Child Safety system

This report documents the experiences of Tasmanian parents and the lawyers who represent them in the Court and legal processes associated with the Child Safety system. The research examines parents' ability to access legal advice, their participation in decision-making processes and to what extent these processes implement the intent of the legislation – promoting family preservation and reunification. Drawing from a review of reforms in Child Safety and Justice systems around the world, the report makes a series of recommendations about how to improve the experiences of Tasmanian parents and their ability to preserve their families and be reunited with their children. Download

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