SALT LAKE CITY — A veteran prosecutor for the Utah Attorney General's Office has received a national honor for his efforts to fight child abuse.  

Children's Justice Division Chief Craig Barlow received the Outstanding Service Award in Prosecution from the National Children's Advocacy Center at its symposium in Huntsville, Ala., this week.

"This is a great honor for someone who fiercely defends children in the courtroom and also generously gives his time to mentor other state and county child abuse prosecutors," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

Barlow received the award for his leadership to help expand children's justice centers in Utah. The centers provide a safe child-friendly environment where child victims can be interviewed. They also help coordinate investigation and prosecution of child sex abuse cases and provide referral services to victims' families.

Under his direction, the number of centers has grown from three in 1994 to 19 today.  "There is no question the growth, stability and success of this model in Utah is a direct result of his efforts," Shurtleff said.

The award also recognized Barlow's efforts to oversee prosecutions by the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which has convicted more than 500 defendants since it began in 2000.

Dennis Romboy Twitter: dennisromboy