Government budgets are much like household budgets. In households, we make decisions about how to allocate limited income to buy food, pay for education, transport, childcare and so on. In the same way, a government needs to make decisions about how to allocate funds to buy various public services. As in a household, priorities normally dictate where the government spends funds. These decisions are particularly difficult when there are many demands on a shrinking income: this is the challenge we face in South Africa today. This policy brief provides an overview of how budget decisions are made by government. It reviews opportunities for and challenges to funding programmes aimed at preventing violence against women and children (VAWC). It suggests that, due to pressure on the fiscus, a unique approach will be needed to advocate for funds for this important work. The policy brief is limited to the funding of primary violence prevention programmes, as opposed to programmes aimed at responding to VAWC or dealing with the consequences of VAWC. For the purposes of this discussion violence prevention programmes refer to proactive interventions that are implemented before an incident of victimisation occurs. It acknowledges, however, that prevention and response are both critical to reducing and sustaining reductions in VAWC.