You may be looking for the article about the the show featuring this unit.

The Special Victims Unit (SVU) is a division within the New York City Police Department.

The Detectives in this division investigate crimes involving sexual assault, the very young, or the very elderly, as well as any crime loosely connected with any of the three. The unit also deals with murder, abduction, robbery and child pornography cases. The unit is housed in several different boroughs.

Manhattan SVU

The unit is located within the 16th Precinct in Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan SVU is the division that is featured in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'


Commanding officers

Squad supervisors

Support personnel

The detectives of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit are frequently assisted by personnel from other New York City Police Department (NYPD) units, the District Attorney (D.A)'s office, the Medical Examiner's (M.E's) Office, and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In early episodes the Special Victims Unit was often depicted as the "Sex Crimes division", or "Manhattan SVU".


The Special Victims Unit works with a special division of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office called the Sex Crimes Bureau.

  • Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael, NYCDA (1999–2000)
  • Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, NYCDA (2000–2003, 2009, 2009–2010, 2011–2012, resigned)
  • Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak, NYCDA (2003–2008, 2011–2012)
  • Assistant District Attorney Kim Greylek, NYCDA (2008–2009, transferred)
  • Executive Assistant District Attorney Sonya Paxton, NYCDA (2009, 2010–2011, KIA)
  • Assistant District Attorney Jo Marlowe, NYCDA (2010)
  • Assistant District Attorney Mikka Von, NYCDA (2010, fired)
  • Assistant District Attorney Sherri West, NYCDA (2010–2011, resigned)
  • Assistant District Attorney Gillian Hardwicke, NYCDA (2010–2011)
  • Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba, NYCDA (2012–2018, retired)
  • Assistant District Attorney Peter Stone, NYCDA (2018–2019)

The Bureau was overseen by Bureau Chief Elizabeth Donnelly from 2002 until she was promoted to the Bench in 2005. In 2011, Michael Cutter was appointed Bureau Chief by the District Attorney

Other SVUs

The Bronx SVU unit is located in The Bronx. The Brooklyn SVU unit is located in Brooklyn and Detective Chester Lake is a transfer from Brooklyn SVU. The Queens SVU unit is located in Queens.

Since 2014, the Deputy Chief of all NYPD Special Victims Units is William Dodds.

The real Special Victims Unit

The NYPD does have a real unit that investigates sex crimes which, same as depicted in the show, is housed in separate Borough Patrols, (i.e. Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx & Queens). In addition to the different name, the real Special Victims Squad only investigates the following types of cases:

  • Any child under 13 years of age who is the victim of any sex crime or attempted sex crime.
  • Any child under 11 years of age who is the victim of abuse by a parent or person legally responsible for the care of the child.
  • Any victim of rape (all degrees) or attempted rape (all degrees).
  • Any victim of Criminal Sexual Act (all degrees) or Attempted Criminal Sexual Act (all degrees).
  • Victims of Aggravated Sexual Abuse (all degrees).
  • Victims of Sexual Abuse 1st Degree.

They also deal with children, handicapped and elderly victims of non-sexual crimes who require specialist handling. The real Special Victims Unit does not investigate any murder, robbery or child pornography cases. Murders and robberies are investigated by precinct detective squads. If a sex crime is involved, the Special Victims Squad may assist in the investigation. Child pornography is investigated by the NYPD Vice Enforcement Sexual Exploitation of Children Unit.