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Abused women's perceptions of professionals' responses: valued support, or collusion with perpetrator?Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is recognised as a serious public health issue that detrimentally affects the lives of victims during, and after exiting, the relationship. For staff in overstretched criminal justice, health and social care agencies, high prevalence rates of DVA place a significant strain on the financial and emotional resources available to them. Drawing on Angie Ash’s (2013) concept of ‘cognitive masks’, and using data collected as part of a larger study, I examine the responses from agencies that frustrated women’s attempts to leave an abusive male partner. Fourteen women, recruited via three specialist support agencies in two English counties and my own personal networks, participated in semi-structured narrative style interviews. Findings suggest that practitioners sometimes ignore significant aspects of the case, thus rendering the situation more manageable – for themselves. For women, however, this can frustrate their attempts to exit the relationship and remain abuse-free.