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The Special Victims Unit (SVU) is the name of a specialized division within some police departments. The detectives in this division typically 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 New York City Police Department Special Victims Squad investigates sex crimes. It is housed in separate Borough Patrols (i.e. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens). The Special Victims Squad only investigates the following types of cases:
The Special Victims Squad 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.
The television show Homicide: Life on the Street makes references to the Sex Crimes Unit, another name for Special Victims Unit.