The provincial coordinator with the Newfoundland and Labrador Transition House Association says shelters have been increasingly busy since the province's economy started taking a turn for the worse.

Dan Meades said there's no doubt that financial problems at home increase the likelihood of domestic violence, and that's exactly what many of his staff have been seeing over the past year or two.

"No question. We've seen a spike in some of the numbers in most of our shelters across Newfoundland and Labrador because of the economic downturn," he told CBC's Labrador Morning on Wednesday.

"I think part of what happens there is that economic pressures in a family and in a relationship often bring forward some of the other negative things in those relationships. That should never be the case, but it's a reality that we see day to day."

Not a time for cuts

Meades said the same patterns are seen across the country during downturns.

"Everywhere that has an economy that has large sweeping booms and busts — like Newfoundland and Labrador has become accustomed to — we do see a cycle of domestic violence."

Meades says the increasing violence should be enough for government to realize that transition houses need increased funding even though government has less revenue in its coffers. 

"This is one of those things where an economic downturn means that there are some areas where you actually have to invest more, instead of cut," he said.

"Gender-based violence is one of them. This isn't a moment to think about how to cut services to vulnerable families. It's a moment to think about how you can increase them."

With files from Labrador Morning