Social Action and Research Centre (SARC)

At the Social Action & Research Centre (SARC), we help build a more just Tasmania.

This means we listen, collaborate, research, advocate and educate. We carry out research and work for changes that will reduce poverty and disadvantage.

We listen to the views and experiences of people in local communities. We also hear from frontline workers.

We share what we learn with others – including decision-makers in government. Our research is available free of charge.

Contact us

Areas of focus:

Our Ethical Framework

SARC has high ethical standards for our research. We conduct our research with honesty, integrity and respect.

Anglicare Tasmania seeks approval from a registered Human Research Ethics Committee for all research involving participants.

Major research projects are overseen by a reference group that is consulted about ethical safeguards.

Areas of Focus: Child, Youth and Family Wellbeing

The wellbeing of children, young people and their families is important to us.

But in Tasmania, many measures of wellbeing are declining and some children, young people and families are experiencing significant problems. Our research can inform decisions about policy, systems and service improvements to help them.

Publications Unaccompanied Homeless Children Better, Bigger, Stronger Young, in love and in danger Anglicare Services

Areas of Focus: Healthy Ageing

Tasmania has an important interest in supporting people to age well at home. About one-fifth of Tasmanians are aged 65 or over, and higher in rural areas.

Our research can help our state with decisions about policy, systems and services for older Tasmanians.

Treasured Lives Anglicare Services

Areas of Focus: Housing and Homelessness

We believe that everyone has a right to a home.

Housing options for low-income Tasmanians are limited due to a shortage of affordable rentals and social housing in our State.

Homelessness has a significant impact on health and wellbeing. It also affects educational outcomes and makes it harder to find and keep a job.

Our research highlights the importance of affordable housing as essential infrastructure.

Publications Rental Affordability Snapshot Waiting for social housing Anglicare Services

Areas of Focus: Inclusive Communities

We want resources and services to be accessible to all Tasmanians.

Our research can inform planning decisions to support people to live well.

Research Project - Trips Not Made

Areas of Focus: Financial Wellbeing

Gambling causes significant harm to many Tasmanians.

A public health approach to reduce the harm caused by gambling is essential.

We know through our research and our support services that poker machines in particular cost many people their health, relationships, jobs and homes. We support the introduction of additional consumer protection measures, and the removal of poker machines from pubs and clubs.

Our research can help our State with decisions about policy, systems and services for Tasmanians harmed by gambling.

Publications Our recommendations Anglicare Services

Areas of Focus: Other Projects

SARC researchers sometimes work in partnership on other projects, like evaluations, quality improvement projects or other research.

The Freedom Project The Mothering Project

Meet the team

  • Selina Claxton | Research Assistant

    Selina is a Research Assistant, editor and proofreader. She has worked with the SARC team for over ten years, recently publishing her own work in our Rental Affordability Snapshot.

    Selina is dedicated to improving the quality of written communication and is meticulous in her attention to detail.

  • Teresa Hinton | Social Researcher (Casual)

    Teresa has extensive experience as a social researcher in Australia and the UK. Trained as an anthropologist, she went on to use her skills in research institutes, local government, the community sector, and advocacy and campaign organisations.

    Teresa developed a particular interest in how best to strengthen the voices of people who use services to ensure their lived experience is heard in legislative reform, policy development, service design, service delivery and evaluation.

    After working at SARC for 15 years, Teresa is now pursuing other interests but still supports SARC on a casual basis.

    Headshot of Teresa Hinton who is a Social Researcher (Casual) with Anglicare's Social Action & Research Centre.

  • Dr Carmel Hobbs | Social Researcher

    Carmel is an experienced qualitative researcher with a background in public health and community development. She has worked in community service organisations, academia and government in research, project coordination, and program implementation. For over 15 years Carmel has undertaken research across a broad range of sectors including education, housing, and public health. Her research agenda is driven by projects that improve equity and have clear and obvious impact on communities and individuals. Most recently she has drawn together her own research with young people excluded from mainstream education and the research of education and youth work professionals across Australia to train to engage effectively with trauma-affected students.

    Carmel is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University, Deputy Chair of the Board for the Story Island Project, and represents Anglicare Tasmania on the Youth Network Of Tasmania (YNOT) board.

    Headshot of Dr Carmel Hobbs who is a Social Researcher with Anglicare's Social Action & Research Centre.

  • Dr Lisa Stafford | Social Researcher

    Dr Lisa Stafford is a social scientist, social planner and human geographer with 20 years’ experience in the fields of disability and community planning. She works from a rights-based, place-based and anti-oppressive framework. Lisa’s areas of focus are inclusive communities and spatial justice, and social and economic participation for young people with disabilities. Lisa specialises in inclusive participatory research and engagement methods to ensure the ‘voices’ of all people, particular children and people with complex communication needs, are heard. She was awarded a highly competitive Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship in 2019 to work on inclusive community planning for people with disabilities in regional areas ( In addition to her work as an academic, Lisa has worked in practitioner, management and director roles in government and non-government organisations.

    Lisa identifies as a disabled person and is a full member of the Planning Institute of Australia (MPIA), the Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) and the Disability Leadership Institute (DLI).

    Lisa will continue in her part time role as Senior Lecturer/ARC DECRA Fellow at QUT while working for SARC.

    Headshot of Dr Lisa Stafford who is a Social Researcher with Anglicare's Social Action & Research Centre.

  • Mary Bennett | Coordinator SARC

    Mary is an economist, policy analyst and project manager with a passion for social justice and creating positive change. Before joining SARC, Mary worked for 15 years in a range of policy roles within State Government and her experience includes policy management, stakeholder relationship management, research impact analysis and measuring and communicating policy outcomes. Prior to that, she worked for 14 years in private veterinary practice.

    Mary has a special interest in applying economics to understand, measure and help close the gap between the lived experience of disadvantaged Tasmanians now and a healthy community in which everyone can flourish.

    Headshot of Mary Bennet who is a Coordinator with Anglicare's Social Action & Research Centre.

  • #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 report

Latest publications

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Better, Bigger, Stronger Final Report

This is the full report of the research project Better, Bigger, Stronger.

The report delivers the findings and recommendations from the research, which investigated the complex mental health needs of Tasmanian children aged 10-17 who are homeless without a parent or guardian.

Treasured Lives - Phase Two Report

Phase two of the Treasured Lives project explores what Tasmanian services need to help older people who have challenges with hoarding or maintaining a healthy home.

We also look at aged care and disability support, and other services like housing and mental health.

#StayHome? A full report of the impact of Covid-19 on unaccompanied homeless children in Tasmania.

This is a full 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

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