From Academic Kids


Lifeline is the name of a free, 24 hour emergency counseling service originally established in 1963 in Sydney, Australia by the late Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker of the Methodist Central Mission. Several other organisations following the same principles and standards were subsequently formed in other countries.

In Australia, Lifeline provides telephone counseling to members of the public via a network of Lifeline Centres maintained by trained volunteers. As at February 2005, there were 42 Lifeline Centres providing services from more than 60 locations, with about 5000 staff handling calls and another 5000 volunteers involved with fund raising and administration.

For the year July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004, Lifeline received over half a million telephone calls. However, in February 2005 news came to light that Telstra Corporation, Australias dominant telecommunications provider, would withdraw funding and support from Lifeline, which is expected to lead to significant curtailment of the Lifeline service [1] (


History & Development

Rev Walker was inspired to establish Lifeline after realizing that he alone did not have the time or resources to provide sufficient attention and help to the increasing number of people facing difficulties and personal crises who were contacting him for assistance.

Following two years of planning and preparation, a nine month training course for 150 people, the renovation of a century old building owned by the Methodist Central Mission in downtown Sydney, and the listing of the Lifeline telephone number on the emergency page of the telephone directory, the first call to the service was received on March 16, 1963.

Shortly after the service opened, it was featured in an article in TIME magazine, which lead to the establishment of similar services around the world. The first international convention of Lifeline was held in Sydney in August 1966 to guide the development of Lifeline services and to establish quality standards, which lead to the formation of Lifeline International.

Although all Lifeline Centre adopt the same standards, different names are used in different countries. For example, in Canada the service is called Telecare; in Japan , Inochi no Denwa (meaning "life phone"); and in the United States of America, Contact. There are currently about 14 Lifeline member organisations around the world.

In 1999, Lifeline International and similar organisations such as Befrienders International and International Federation of Telephonic Emergency Services (IFOTES) signed a memorandum of understanding and pledged to work together to provide an effective telephone crisis counseling service throughout the world.

Lifeline home units

Lifeline in the UK refers to community alarm units, manufactured by Tunstall Group Ltd, which when linked with telecare sensors provide vulnerable people with a means of contacting help via a network of monitoring centres throughout the UK.

Lifeline Systems

Lifeline also refers to the name of a private, subscription-based emergency response service provided in the US by Lifeline Systems Inc, which was founded in 1974 by Dr. Andrew Dibner. Subscribers such as senior citizens and medical patients wear personal alarm devices on the wrist or around the neck, which when activated in the event of an emergency, automatically dial an emergency telephone number for assistance. In the US, this service is sometimes believed to form the basis for a popular catch phrase and in-joke of the early 1990s, I've fallen and I can't get up, although the phrase was actually coined for a television commercial for a competing service, Lifecall, which is no longer in business.


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