The Department of Health will have a key role to play in the government's £6m campaign to tackle violence against women, according to ministers.

The DoH is about to issue draft guidance on a multi-agency approach to protecting vulnerable adults as part of the campaign launched last week by home secretary Jack Straw and women's minister Baroness Jay.

Home Office minister Paul Boateng said the health service was 'particularly important' to the campaign, with accident and emergency departments a 'valuable focus for activity'.

Mr Boateng is working with junior health minister John Hutton on ways in which GP surgeries could be used to get over messages about domestic violence, without women identifying themselves as potential victims of abuse.

Speaking at the launch at a relaxation class for nurses at St Thomas' Hospital in London, Mr Straw said it was time to 'change attitudes to violence against women'.

The DoH is also due to publish national guidelines this autumn on preventing violence against NHS staff. 'Synthesised' professional guidelines to help health professionals respond to victims of domestic violence are due by the end of the year.

Living Without Fear. www.womens-unit.gov.uk