Presenter Details

Cat Otway RN, SANE-A, SANE-P

Cat has a passion for improving the knowledge and response of healthcare providers and law enforcement to strangulation violence. She also cares deeply about increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of strangulation and teaching providers and law enforcement better documentation methods to hold offenders accountable when their case is brought before a judge and jury.

Cat’s enthusiasm for her work stems from her introduction to forensic nursing in 2006. Since then, Cat has discovered the tremendous influence that healthcare professionals can have with their patients who have experienced a strangulation assault and the value of the multidisciplinary team approach to this violence.

Cat has worked as a forensic nurse examiner and forensic interviewer with First Step at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana for 14 years. First Step Resource Center provides medical evaluations, forensic interviews, and referrals for children and adult victims of physical trauma and sexual violence. She has been a registered nurse for over 34 years and a forensic nurse for 16 years. Prior to coming to Missoula, Cat was a forensic nurse at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas and has served in other nursing positions throughout her career.

Her skills, education and experience coalesced when she joined First Step. Cat continues to work with patients in a medical setting, but she also provides training and consultation to healthcare providers, law enforcement, and legal professionals with particular emphasis on the importance of communication and developing relationships among members in the criminal justice and healthcare systems for the benefit of the victim.

A particular focus of Cat’s training has been on the topic of strangulation. Since 2010, Cat has conducted numerous presentations to nurses, physicians, law enforcement officers, judges, social workers, advocates, dentists, attorneys, and emergency medical/first responders throughout Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. Cat currently trains nationally as a certified instructor for the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention based in San Diego, CA. She has also been invited as a guest speaker to talk about date rape and sexual assault, a topic of particular interest on university and high school campuses across the state. Cat is often called on as an expert witness to testify and educate jury members on the lethality of strangulation injuries.

Cat authored two strangulation articles for the Missoulian on behalf of St. Patrick Hospital in the “Nurse’s Notes” column to reach a broad public audience and educate the community on the difference between choking and strangulation, with a powerful message that strangulation leads to unconsciousness within seconds and death within minutes.