Steve Helber, Associated Press
FILE - Attorney General William Barr, gestures as he speaks during a graduation ceremony for students of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy at the FBI training facility in Quantico, Va., Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal prosecutor in Utah received national recognition for his volunteer work with domestic violence victims.

Drew Yeates, an assistant U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City, received the Attorney General’s Volunteer Award for Community Service for his efforts to reduce domestic violence in the state. U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr presented the award Monday in Washington, D.C.

Seeing that most domestic violence criminal prosecutions occur after a victim has been harmed, Yeates looked for a way to protect victims earlier in the process.

Since 2012, he has volunteered at the Safe Harbor Crisis Center in Layton. In his seven years of service, Yeates has represented more than 200 victims of domestic violence, assisting them in obtaining permanent protective orders in about 160 cases.

"We are very proud of the efforts Drew is making to protect victims of domestic violence in Utah communities. He is using civil litigation tools in his pro bono work and his experience as a prosecutor in our office,” Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber. said. “He represents the highest values of the Department of Justice in his professional work and exemplary community service efforts."

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Although Utah’s homicide rate is one of the lowest in the nation, a disproportionately high number of them involve domestic violence, according to the Justice Department. Domestic violence-related deaths account for about 30 percent of murders across the nation. In Utah, it is 44 percent. Women are the most likely victims.

As a prosecutor, Yeates, deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney's Office criminal division has also played a significant role in addressing domestic violence by prosecuting perpetrators.