The Ethics Committee's Guide to Human Anomalies
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Introduction

This document was made available to all Foundation personnel on the International SCP Foundation Network on December 04, 2024 by the Ethics Subcommittee for Sentient & Sapient Anomalies. It is intended to provide a comprehensive review of what modern standards for the ethical treatment of human anomalies involve, as well as offer the Ethics Committee's insight into the topic. This document is based upon existing policy and Ethics Committee consensus; it is intended as a strongly encouraged set of guidelines updated for the modern age, though it cites some definitive regulation as well.


I: Detaining Human Anomalies

Historically, even in cases where immediate cooperation was shown, Containment & Retrieval teams had a zero-tolerance policy on allowing human anomalies to be unrestrained — or in some cases even conscious — during the period of transport from the pickup location to the containment site. As this period can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on location, it was clear from the beginning that the method was far from ideal; however, the risk posed by a potential escape was seen as a direct threat to maintaining the veil of normalcy, and thus nothing changed until the era of public operation was entered.

In the present day, human anomalies must be approached differently. Foundation personnel are more numerous and more frequently present in public areas, contributing to overall security. The Ethics Committee suggests the following as a flexible base on which individual Containment & Retrieval teams can frame their methods; no matter what, one of these approaches is always possible.

Conversation should always be attempted before physical force is used; it is possible for an anomaly to fully agree to their detainment even in cases where cooperation was not expected based on preliminary profiling, and this has occurred before. If legally applicable, a human anomaly should first be approached in a public area by personnel wearing plainclothes (so as not to distract passerby) who should provide proof of Foundation identification and explain the legal reasons that the anomaly had to be contacted about their effects.

If it is not possible to converse, it is possible to explain. Only if an anomaly is physically violent or extremely disruptive is physical restraint appropriate; the moment an anomaly is drawing excessive attention to themself or the situation, they should be removed from the area for the safety of the public, personnel, and themself. However, once privately in transport, personnel should still attempt to explain the legality of the situation and the necessity of containment to the anomaly, as well as listen to their concerns.

It is important to note that many anomalies supposedly affiliated with groups hostile to the Foundation are not in such a position willingly; they may be bound to a contract they have no legal right to opt out of1, be subservient to a group's demands while showing reckless disregard for their own personal safety or health2, or simply feel that affiliation with a group experienced in handling the anomalous is a safer option than living on their own with their effects. Thus, these anomalies should be approached the same way as unaffiliated anomalies.

An anomaly's Initial Containment Date is the most influential point in the Foundation's interaction with them, as it is their first perception of the Foundation's motives and operating methods and will affect their opinion of all personnel handling them for years to come. If initial containment takes longer with these methods than 'brute force' methods, that is an acceptable price to pay.


All of the above assumes that the anomaly in question is a legal adult; in cases where the anomaly is a minor3, Foundation policy and non-Foundation law becomes complex.

In most cases, child anomalies with effects considered "excessively destructive and/or causing immediate or latent harm to other persons or property" within the context of applicable local law may be detained with or without parental consent for no more than three weeks. Following this, results vary depending on relevant state or country law, and can either yield state-ordered continued containment or state-ordered release to state-owned containment facilities, among other options.4

In cases where parental consent is given, anomalous children may be contained as indefinitely as adult anomalies can be5 and may be visited by parents/guardians as frequently as is determined to be reasonable and safe by assigned psychologists and containment specialists. Provided at least two psychologists deem it necessary for a child's health and containment personnel deem it safe for all involved, their parents/guardians may reside onsite in an adjacent room for up to two weeks per month.


II: Treatment and Documentation

The Ethics Committee encourages personnel to refer to a given human anomaly by their preferred first name and pronouns rather than by their SCP designation and it/its pronouns when in their presence; doing this has no notable effect on formal documentation and is psychologically beneficial for the anomaly.

In the past, the vast majority of human anomalies were non-compliant and/or hostile, particularly due to the lack of public knowledge of the Foundation's existence and the negative view of the Foundation the majority of informed groups held. This consistent behavior pattern allowed for lax regulations which permitted individual research teams to determine what privileges a human anomaly should or should not have. This approach was not conducive to cooperation; rumor spread of teenagers who weren't allowed books or entertainment because of a 'bad attitude' and elderly humans whose requests for 'luxurious' amenities such as a softer mattress or desk chair were denied for being 'unnecessary', which created a stifling environment detrimental to anomalies' health.

In response to this (and perhaps years too late) an organization-wide standard for privileges was developed and instated by the Ethics Committee, in use since March 2023:

Classification Uniform/ID Stripe Color Qualifying Parameters Requirements/Permissions
I (Contained) red The anomaly either has been in containment since before the Foundation became public or actively attempted to conceal their possession of anomalous effects while originally under investigation, and in either case continues to be uncooperative and actively hostile. The anomaly may not leave their chamber unless for research purposes, and is not permitted to wear plainclothes or possess items not directly approved in signature by their containment specialist(s) due to the security threat posed.
II (Limited Contained) orange (Regardless of history) the anomaly is unpredictable, meaning reasonable requests are frequently denied and behavioral outbursts are possible but some compliance is shown. The anomaly may not leave their chamber unless for research purposes, and is not permitted to wear plainclothes or possess items not directly approved in signature by their containment specialist(s) due to the security threat posed.
III (Compliant) yellow (Regardless of history) the anomaly is consistently (>3 months) non-hostile toward Foundation personnel, does not deny reasonable requests, and shows comprehension of why their containment is necessary and/or how their anomalous effects function/how to control them if applicable. (Unless in direct exception cases due to effects) the anomaly may leave their chamber with the supervision of two or more qualified C-class personnel, and is permitted to wear plainclothes (with identification card displayed) and own items given to them by personnel or civilians provided externally sourced items were screened and no items compromise security or pose a threat to the anomaly or personnel.
IV (Limited Civilian) green The anomaly has either been recently contained or otherwise still legally retains their civilian identity; additionally, the anomaly is consistently (>3 months) non-hostile toward Foundation personnel, does not deny reasonable requests, and shows comprehension of why their containment is necessary and/or how their anomalous effects function/how to control them if applicable. (Unless in direct exception cases due to effects) the anomaly may visit public areas with the supervision of two or more qualified C-class personnel, and is permitted to wear plainclothes (with identification card displayed) and own items given to them by personnel or civilians provided externally sourced items were screened and no items compromise security or pose a threat to the anomaly or personnel.
V (Civilian) blue The anomaly was originally non-anomalous and developed effects not severe enough in their impact on the surrounding world to necessitate (or, in some countries, make legal) onsite containment. The anomaly resides offsite, is monitored by the appropriate personnel, will contact personnel if effects worsen, and can ask personnel to detain them if safety concerns arise.

While the system above does not make outlier cases impossible, data from psychiatric researchers' reports has indicated an overall improvement in the mental health status of contained humans since the system's inception.


III: On 'Unhealthy Compliance'

While compliance as a general trait is typically desirable in contained anomalies, there are circumstances under which expressing it can signify serious psychological issues. The Committee finds it necessary to call attention to this topic not just when briefing Foundation psychologists, but in communication with all Foundation staff at all levels via this document.

In July 2022, following investigation into the root causes of an egregious personnel misconduct case, the Ethics Committee defined DSF Syndrome (Dependency/Subservience/Failure Syndrome, sometimes referred to as DSF-Stockholm Syndrome) as "a mentality under which a human anomaly in Foundation custody first acknowledges that they are dependent on the Foundation due to their anomalous traits, but then develops this acknowledgement into feelings of obligation to comply with even unreasonable demands from personnel, culminating with a conclusion that they are not 'worth' the Foundation's resources and/or that they owe personnel something in exchange for Foundation resources."

While DSF Syndrome may appear identical to Stockholm Syndrome, it is definitive in genuine cases. It is not considered possible outside of settings such as Foundation custody wherein a person's anomalous effects not only prevent swift reintegration into society but also induce in them an awareness that the Foundation has more control over them than they do and needs to have this control in order to ensure their safety. Anomalies with DSF Syndrome meet some or all of the following parameters:

  • The anomaly was non-compliant when initially contained and only became amicable toward Foundation personnel after recognizing the stabilizing results of containment.
  • The anomaly does not want to possess anomalous effects, has no interest in the possibility of controlling their effects, or otherwise considers their anomalous nature to be undesirable.
  • The anomaly has effects which are not containable through the sole use of technology and require regular interaction from personnel.
  • The anomaly has effects which require frequent physically or emotionally invasive procedures to be carried out by personnel.

All cases of DSF Syndrome on-record affected anomalies which were (or would have been considered, had the system been in place) Class I-III; anomalies with ongoing or recent access to their civilian lifestyles appear to be minimally at risk. Signs that an anomaly has developed DSF Syndrome can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Expressing friendliness toward personnel that could be described as abnormally affectionate or 'clingy' behavior.
  • A fixation on the notion of removing their anomalous effects, prioritized over their mental and physical health.
  • Expressing that they view the Foundation as more important than they are.
  • Treating personnel as equal representatives of the Foundation as a whole rather than as specialists or individuals, and speaking to personnel with language that clearly conveys this generalization.
  • Making inappropriate advances toward or offers for personnel, especially of an intimate nature, and especially if actions are offered in exchange for treatment that would take place regardless (such as receiving food).
  • (early onset) (can be influenced or exacerbated by unrelated mental illness, if applicable) Experiencing periods of 'reversed' attitude toward the Foundation, meaning random short episodes of expressing hatred and non-compliance before reverting to the opposite viewpoint again.

It is important to note that some signs of DSF Syndrome can be benign when isolated, but clusters of behavior fitting these patterns warrant psychiatric investigation and/or Ethics Committee involvement.6

The Committee's primary concern is that DSF Syndrome opens opportunities for abuse to take place. An anomaly with DSF Syndrome will typically comply with any orders given, and the Foundation is not and has never been immune to corruption; Foundation employment offers multiple positions which allow total control over a group of people or a person, and as the civilian world has shown us with cases from law enforcement and similar, some people who wish to exercise their will on others for their own gain will seek out positions of power for this purpose. Now that Foundation employment is open to the public, the Ethics Committee wishes to emphasize that greater care than ever must be taken in assigning thoroughly vetted personnel to positions which involve direct influence on or access to anomalies.

Ultimately, the Committee urges all personnel to consider how environment and culture influence frame of reference, and thus how lacking respect for the basic rights of human anomalies from a supposedly 'clinical' standpoint can be a dangerous contributing factor in settings where DSF Syndrome can develop and/or corruption can be circumstantially invited.


Overview

The Foundation's obligation to human anomalies is first and foremost to protect them, whether this is from themselves, Groups of Interest, or the civilian world. The Foundation's characteristic 'coldness' is generally not appropriate for human anomalies; we are in many cases the only force on the planet capable of providing for an anomalous human, and no anomalous human should be made to feel like they are nothing more than a scientific curiosity.

Containment and protection are interconnected concepts; prioritizing protection does not mean neglecting containment, but rather means approaching containment differently than we do for inanimate and non-sapient anomalies. Only by recognizing our shared humanity can the Foundation successfully fulfill its obligations to anomalous humans; humanity defined what is or is not 'anomalous', and while any sapient anomaly is capable of comprehending its own existence, only an anomalous human has to live their life with the knowledge that their own species deems them not fully a part of it.

Published by the Ethics Subcommittee for Sentient & Sapient Anomalies, December 2024. Internal; unavailable for public viewing and discussion. Direct inquiries to Chairwoman Elaine Starck or Dr. John Blanchard.

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