Department of Justice Recognizes North Carolina Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with Allied Professional Award
WASHINGTON – The Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, presented the Allied Professional Award to Deborah Flowers of Pittsboro, North Carolina. This award category recognizes an individual or individuals from a specific discipline outside the victim assistance field for their service to victims and contribution to the victim assistance field.
“Ms. Flowers has spent her personal and professional life advocating for survivors of sexual assault and child abuse, educating and mentoring colleagues, and working to make the medical community more responsive to the needs of victims,” said Amy L. Solomon, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of OJP. “Her deep experience as a medical practitioner, coupled with her extraordinary capacity for empathy, has made her an exceptional resource for victims throughout North Carolina and a model for victim-serving professionals everywhere.”
Deborah “Deb” Flowers, a sexual assault nurse examiner who worked at University of North Carolina State Hospital from 1988 until 2019, has spent much of her career advocating for sexual assault victims and children who have experienced trauma. She and a colleague founded UNC’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program in 1997 to provide a solid level of care that sexual assault victims needed and deserved.
After years of advocating for victims, she trained to become a pediatric nurse practitioner for UNC’s Child Medical Evaluation Program, providing inpatient consultation for all children who presented with non-accidental trauma. Her work paved the way for future guidelines on mandated consultation for the most vulnerable populations. She also helped establish frameworks that identify children who are being abused and connect them to wraparound services to prevent future harm. Recognizing that rural communities across the state suffered from a lack of child abuse experts, Ms. Flowers joined the Child Advocacy Centers of North Carolina in her retirement. She is now the Medical Services Coordinator for the state and works at two rural child advocacy centers, where her schedule to see pediatric victims remains booked.
“Ms. Flowers has been a beacon for survivors and a mentor to countless nurses and professionals across the state of North Carolina and beyond,” said Kristina Rose, Director of OVC. “Through her generosity of knowledge and talent, and her uncommon grasp of the role the medical community can play in a victim’s recovery, she has made a major difference in the lives of the victims she and her colleagues have treated.”
The selection committee for the NCVRW awards this year chose two individuals to receive the Allied Professional Award. In addition to Ms. Flowers, Dr. Linda Laras from Caguas, Puerto Rico, received the award for providing comprehensive services to victims of sexual assault.
Every April, OVC leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. President Ronald W. Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for greater sensitivity to the rights and needs of victims. This year’s observance is taking place April 24-30, and features the theme, “Rights, Access, Equity, for All Victims.”
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.