A shocking report in the Independent newspaper this week has revealed that almost 250 Irish women who had attempted to escape a violent partner were turned away by overstretched charity shelters last year.

Sonas Housing, a Dublin charity that provides hosting to victims of domestic abuse, said almost three times more women and children became homeless because of domestic violence in 2010.  Sonas added that it had recorded a massive 163% rise in domestic violence services.

Unfortunately the charity could only cater for 40% of the 433 enquiries that it received.

Sharon Cosgrove, chief executive of Sonas Housing, told the Independent the charity was only able to meet a small level of demand.

'It is very difficult to turn women away - the majority of the women who call us are in dire abusive situations,' Cosgrove said. 'Picking up the phone to a domestic violence service can be a massive step, so it's crushing if they do not receive a positive response."

The prevalence of domestic violence can increase during a recession, because women trapped in an abusive relationship have fewer options for escape.

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Cosgrave added: 'The availability of good, quality services is even more important in times of recession, when domestic violence often increases. Increased financial pressure and unemployment can escalate stress and the downturn can be used as an excuse to legitimize controlling behaviors.'

Sonas said there had been a 26% increase in calls for their services in the first half of this year.