Irish Independent report on Victory Outreach by Sam Griffin

Drug addiction charity accused of

making users work 18 hours a day



rte vo

A member of Victory Outreach selling raffle tickets outside a shop Photo: RTE

17 December 2013

The church Victory Outreach was the subject of an RTE investigation in which drug users attempting to recover from their addiction were offered places in the charity’s five recovery home in exchange for their social welfare payments.

Hidden camera footage showed people who used the centres were then ordered to work for up to 18 hours a day going door- to-door fundraising for the charity, as well as distributing leaflets and selling raffle tickets.

The report also revealed that publicly donated money was used to pay for holidays for senior staff and residents of the centres to Hollywood and Las Vegas, among other destinations.

Often recovering addicts were required to work in pubs and other unsuitable locations which could cause them to suffer a relapse, while the recovery programme saw addicts go “cold turkey” despite the medical dangers.

The secretly-filmed footage showed a researcher from the programme who went undercover was offered no therapy or treatment of any kind, despite presenting with a severe alcohol problem.

The report also featured interviews with several people who had resided in the recovery centres.

One man said he had been ordered to “put a great deal of effort” into raising money for Victory Outreach including cutting lawns and said “there was no recovery in it at all”.

Another member of the service told how he was arrested and charged by gardai for illegal fundraising. He said when he approached the charity requesting a letter indicating he had been fundraising on its behalf, he was refused and served two days in prison before being released.

In response to RTE, the charity said in the past “there was a breakdown in communication and some people fundraised without permission” but it said this was no longer the case.

In relation to allegations that the charity only accepted people who could pay for the service through their social welfare, it said it took people “irrespective of their financial status and whether or not they are in receipt of social welfare payments”.

It also said it was a “recovery home, not a rehabilitation home which had a proven track record of success in assisting people with addictions”.

In response to the allegation that recovering addicts were ordered to distribute leaflets, the charity said residents deliver leaflets to develop their life skills and give them a sense of responsibility and said it was not done on a commercial basis.

Sam Griffin

One Response

  1. Mr Valdez the man behind the vigorous fundraising has now pulled away from victory outreach after he was told by his senior pastor Sonny Arguinzoni to put a stop to fundraising after almost 25 years with the group. Mr Valdez has now set up his own ministry under the new nameof freedom church and are still situated in ballyfermot. There is no doubt that he has done this so he can continue to fundraise in order to keep up his glamourise lifestye. He insists that everyone who is picked for fundraising must bring back 900 euro over a 3 day period, Thursday 250 Euro, Friday 300 Euro and Saturday 350 Euro and that doesn’t include children Allowence each month of 250 Euro. As a former member I use to bring in between around 12 to 14 hundred Euro a week over a period of several years. It is known he and his family visited California 11 times last year and the same this year. All he is interested in is to line his pockets along with his top staff who are part of the abuse. They make sure through the charity urban outreach to only show what goes into the homes and vans ect but the thousands not declared is lining their own pockets.
    Victory outreach has a new pastor and I’m sure it will be the same as before apart from the fundraising but it helped me when I was down and i appreciate that but it tore my family apart and left me 21 thousand in credit card debt as i was told i must go to certain events to California over the years I was there.
    So make sure to let the whole of Ireland a new ministry is on the prowl.


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